Pi-ank V, Wadsworth
NOVELS, ETC., BY W. CLARK RUSSELL
Crown Svo., clotli extra, 3s. 6d. each ; post 8vo., illustrated boards, 2s. each;
cloth limp, 2s. 6d. each.
ROUND THE GALLEY FIRE.
IN THE MIDDLE WATCH.
ON THE FO'K'SLE HEAD.
A VOYAGE TO THE CAPE.
A BOOK FOR THE HAMMOCK.
THE MYSTERY OF THE 'OCEAN STAR.'
THE ROMANCE OF JENNY HARLOWE.
AN OCEAN TRAGEDY.
MY SHIPMATE LOUISE.
ALONE ON A WIDE WIDE SEA.
THE GOOD SHIP 'MOHOCK.'
THE PHANTOM DEATH.
IS HE THE MAN?
THE CONVICT SHIP.
HEART OF OAK.
THE TALE OF THE TEN.
THE LAST ENTRY.
A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS. Crown Svo., cloth, 3s. 6d.
THE SHIP : HER STORY. With 50 illustrations by H. C.
Seppings Wright, Small 4to., cloth, gilt top, 6s.
London: CHATTO & WINDUS, in St. Martin's Lane, W.C.
A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
A TALE OF
A ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN WATERS
W. CLARK RUSSELL
■THE WRECK OF THE GROSVENOR,' ' THE CONVICT SHIP,' ETC.
A NEW EDITION
CHATTO & WINDUS
I. THE devil's walk - - - - I
H. CAPTAIN JACKMAN - - - - 31
in. THE DINNER -
IV. THE PROPOSAL -
V. BUGSBV'S HOLE
VI. FATHER AND DAUGHTER - - - 1 58
A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
THE devil's walk.
The ship Lovelace lay in the East India
Docks, being newly arrived from an East
India voyage. Her commander, Jackman,
stood in her cabin and gazed in his glass ;
he looked at his face, and seemed to study
it. There was a mark as of a blovv^ close
under the left eye, and he examined this
mark with care.
He was a handsome man, with regular
features and a dark brown skin. His eyes
were black and flashing, and, contrary to
the custom of that age, he wore his hair
close cropped behind. Being satisfied, he
picked up a bag, locked a drawer, quitted
2 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
his cabin, withdrew the key, and left the
He made his way on foot and by coach
to Cannon Street, where the offices of the
owners of the vessel were situated. Just
when he was in the middle of the thorough-
fare he was knocked down and his bag
taken from him. He lay stunned for some
moments, and, when he sprang to his feet,
he caught sight of the darting figure of a
man flinging the bag into some wide area
and rushing on.
Captain Jackman gave chase, but did
not somehow think of recovering his bag.
Then, feeling confused and amazingly
shocked by this theft of fifteen hundred
pounds in gold and paper — mostly in gold —
the money of the owners, he gave up, and
walked sullenly, without even thinking of
brushing his clothes, towards the offices.
Such was the story related to the owners
by Captain Jackman of the ship Lovelace.
He said he believed his assailant was a
rascally little seaman whom he had shipped
at Calcutta, and who had given him trouble
all the way home.
THE DEVIL'S WALK 3
Did Captain Jackman see the man ?
Yes. Just outline enough of the flying
figure to guess that it was he.
How was the money done up .?
In three small bags.
Would he have had time to take these
parcels out of the captain's bag in the
narrow compass of time allotted him by the
Certainly. He had himself seen the sailor
fling the bag down the area. Sailors are
swift in breaking bulk. Some are born
thieves. This sailor was peculiarly active,
and was the one of the whole crew, knowing
that Captain Jackman was going to carry a
large sum of gold ashore, to rob him out of
* How did he know that you were going
to carry a large sum of gold ashore ?'
* It may have leaked out through my
servant, who, being a neat hand, packed the
money for me.'
They went to the police. Thev searched
the area, and found the bag, but they did
not hnd the gold. What, then, was to be
done ? Raise a hue and cry ?
4 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
Captain Jackman was grimly regarded by
his owners, who had lost in Cannon Street a
very handsome venture in their voyage.
* I hope,' said the captain, when he called
at the office two days after the incident,
* that this will not make any difference in
our relations, gentlemen.'
* You shall hear from us, sir,' answered
one of the owners, a tall lean man with a
dangling eyeglass, bending his form crane-
like towards Jackman. The captain seemed
to pause, to look confused and pained. He
then, with a polite bow, raised his cap and
left the place.
' I noticed a rather ugly mark near his
eye,' said one of the partners. ' Ay,' said
the other, ' and plenty of dust in his
One day, some mornings after this, a
fine young woman was pacing the sands of
the sea-shore, lost in thought. The sands
formed a noble stretch of promenade, brown
and beautiful with ripples moulded by the
waters of the sea. But from the wash of
the surf the brine was sparkling and flash-
THE DEVIL'S WALK 5
ing : it was blowing half a gale. The tall,
mid-Channel combers raced inshore, follow-
ing one another like cliffs looking over cliffs.
The girl's dress to windward blew to her
figure, and showed her a beauty in shape ;
sometimes she paused, and turned to look at
the sea, which swept into hilly heights of
froth and obscured the horizon by miles of
dazzle. Also, she took notice of a little
barque staggering down Channel under
close-reefed sail, sometimes vanishing, and
then showing her whole shape. The sight
was so toy-like, it made one linger. All the
wet glories which came out of the sea with
that little leaning, trying fabric glowed in
each sparkling sunbeam that touched her.
She was quaint, too, as an example of a
vanished type of ship, though she belonged
to her age. She was very high in the stern
— a pink — and her bowsprit ran up like a
mast. Her topsails, when set, would have
a curiously lofty hoist for a vessel of her
size. Such as she was, there she was, all of
the olden time, spinning through the blue
marrow of the Channel, and making for
some far western port.
6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
All on the left of the young lady rose a
tov/ering terrace of cliff, white and gray
blocks, seared, ravaged, scowling, menacing
the up-looker with the headlong threat of its
topmost reefs. It went for miles. At some
distance its curvature frames what is now a
The narrative must stop an instant to
describe the young lady. Who is this girl
that is walking solitary along the sands
under a great height of cliff before the mid-
day dinner-hour ? She shall be introduced
at once as Ada Conway, the daughter of
Commander Conway, R.N., a gentleman of
spirit, who had seen service, who lived in a
comfortable little house out of eyeshot of
the wash of ebb-tide. She was a tall girl,
above the middle stature, of mould in ab-
solute proportion. She had thick black hair.
She was Eastern in her colour and eyes, yet
had as fine a type of English face as you
could wish to see. She was dressed some-
what quaintly in a sort of turban hat, with
a short ornament of feather or bird's wing
buckled to it by a fal-lal in gold. Her dress
was of green material, and was cut so short-
THE DEVIL'S WALK 7
waisted as to reach nearly under her arms,
where it was clasped in a girdle. This early-
century beauty blew along athwart the shrill
gale and over the ribbed brown sand. And
sometimes she looked at the leaning barque,
and sometimes she stopped in earnest to take
in the whole sumptuous mass of mountainous
breaker, lifting into Atlantic height, before
falling with the dead crash of the defeated
Suddenly her ear was caught by a sound
proceeding from the direction of the cliff.
It did not come from the base ; it did not
come from the summit ; but, womanlike,
she must needs look along both. She was
passing on, when the same strange, alarming
cry stopped her, and now she had the good
sense to scan the front of the cliff, where
might-be she should see a man hanging by
his eyelids to the edge of a rock, or some
helpless boy in a hollow, lowered thence by
a bowline, and lost to recovery by his
The terrace of cliff was a vast expanse of
holes and fissures — great crevices of the size
of gaps ; it buttressed out in parts with
8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
natural effect, was solid and green at its base,
and was a noble example of an English sea-
board. Miss Conway directed her eyes over
the face of the cliff very carefully, studiously,
as of purpose, under her shaded hand, missing
the hole from which the voice was proceed-
ing. She then, with a start, beheld a part
of the figure of a man standing in a hollow
of the cliff, well known to her, as a young
lady residing in those parts, as the orifice
of a smuggler's tunnel called the Devil's
She saw him wave a handkerchief. She
pulled out hers and waved it in return,
running a little way towards the base of the
cliff, and shrieking —
' I know where you have got fixed. I
will release you !'
The wind carried her high and powerful
notes. The man in the hole flourished his
arm with the most cordial, grateful gesticu-
lation, and the young lady walked swiftly
towards the little town which lay in an
embrasure in the great cliff on her right.
The road was steep, wide, and formed an
angle. It went like a steeple into the sky.
THE DEVIL'S WALK 9
People often paused to admire the gulls
floating round about and in and out the
liquid blue of this fanciful aerial spire.
Nothing of the town was visible till almost
the summit of the great gap had been
reached, when there began to steal upon the
sight a row of little houses built of flint,
further off a church, then again a pleasant
little rectory-house. Houses broke the land-
scape, which had few trees, and was hilly
only in the distance. It was a sort of town
that seemed to have settled down to nothing
and to seem nothing. It gave itself no airs ;
all was chaste and sober — of a Quaker-like
trimness of aspect. In a small garden, distant
by about a mile from the bulk of the town,
stood a cottage of two stories, square and
strong for the gales. It was Commander
Conway's home, and the home of his
daughter Ada. The girl went swiftly along
the edge of the cliff, this time towards the
right. She had come about a mile along
the sands ; she had now to retrace her steps
on top. It was not very strange that she
should know exactly where the man was
imprisoned. She had lived many years in
to A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
those parts, and knew most of the traditions
of the smugglers, and had grown acquainted
with their haunts, and had visited them,
through talking with old sailors to whom
times were always hard. How distant the
rolling blue sea seemed all that way off !
A full-rigged ship was then in sight, looking
close in ; she rolled in the noblest majesty
the deep can clothe her toys with.
But Ada had no eyes for pictures of the
sea or sky, for processions of clouds, nor ear
for the gull screeching in its soft white
plenty midway high, nor for the breaker
arching like glass to the sand. Not just
then, anyhow. She struck a path, and
walked with vigour about a mile, deviating
into a part of the land, about a third of a
mile from the brink of the cliff.
She arrived at a strange old enclosure. It
might have been some ancient smuggler's
vault, the memorial gone, nothing but the
flat tombstone and the square of broken neg-
lected railings left. She squeezed through
these broken railings, and approached the
small flat stone, which was fitted with a ring
in the middle ; but this she had known for
THE DEVIL;S walk II
years. Not a living creature was in sight,
not even a goat. That vast down of clifF
swelled its rampart without visible figure of
man to the distant hills.
It seemed a desolate scene even now.
One might figure it with some sense of
horror in a gale of wind black with snow,
so dark that if you did not mind, the next
step might carry you into the scaling hiss
that was washing, bubbling, fretting, trum-
peting into breakers just below.
Miss Conway seized the ring and raised it,
not without exerting considerable strength.
She had often raised that stone cover, and
now, when she had got it off, she knew w^hat
to do. It was, in short, the entrance to a
smuggler's passage, designed for the lifting
of goods from a height. It had been aban-
doned, not, however, before it had been
formed, nor before a whole wheel of like
corridors had radiated out of this main-
spring under the earth. All were of no
use, and had been deserted by the smugglers
as worthless. Few took much trouble to
wander in those cold caves. They felt
tolerably certain that bold Bill and Harry
12 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
Spikem had not left anything worth their
acceptance in those gloomy depths. Boat-
men offered to conduct visitors through them
for sixpence ; but a visitor was an extremely
rare bird at a town where there were no
lodgings to be had, and but two small inns
of those old days for the traveller to put up
at— inns such as Nelson sat in with Colling-
wood and his wife in a little room, whilst
little Miss Collingwood watched the dog
The stone being lifted, Miss Conway
peered down and called. She peered down
and shrieked. The echoes of her voice
seemed to flash like light, so piercing were
her tones. But under earth the voice is
very deceptive, as you shall know if you hail
a man from a depth of soil.
Why couldn't he have come to the place
where he entered ? she thought ; and then
she reflected that he might have strayed in
one of the corridors, and have got to the
end of it, and was there standing, thinking
the entrance was over his head, and wait-
ing with a beating heart for his release.
For certain it was there was no release
THE DEVIL'S WALK 13
for the man save through the smuggler's
If that was his luck in those branching
corridors, he would have been well off had
he fallen and been caught by some projec-
tion of rock ; for then they could have
seen him above ; they could have lowered
tackles and a bowline ; they could more
clearly have heard his shouts. Now he
could not approach the seaward-facing hole
so as even to show himself to those down-
A flight of four rude steps sank into the
gloom, and the cutting went away in black-
ness. She had a great deal of pluck in her
veins ; only a plucky woman, single-handed,
would have ventured this rescue. It was no
longer now like opening a trap-door and
letting a man out ; it was seeking for a
captive in blinding blackness, save where
the orifice in the cliff let in at its mouth of
tunnel, at a distance, a green light like the
object-glass of a telescope at evening.
It was clear that some officious hand must
have closed this trap-door above on observ-
ing it opened, supposing it so by neglect ;
[4 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
for the people of the place, though they got
no money by the thing, rather valued them-
selves upon it as a small sight, though there
were scores of greater wonders, east and
west, particularly west, much of the same
kind. Ada walked a little distance, until
she was plunged in darkness ; she then stood
and shouted —
' Where are you ?'
No answer was returned. Some faint
sheen from the trap-door lay just here, and
a little further onwards, and you could have
distinguished the marks of the axe in the
solid stuff the dare - devils had sheered
through till they came to the open. The
labour was wonderful because it had been
secret, it had been done in passages of black-
ness in long nights, with look-outs to silence
the axe and hands striking fiercely, by small
lantern light, against the portion they had
opened by a line ruled straight by magnetic
But Miss Conway knew that the smugglers
had run a number of tunnels, besides this
long corridor, on either hand of it, extending
like the antennas of an aquatic insect. If
THE DEVIL'S WALK 15
the man had wandered into one of them,
then, after she had cried aloud in vain to
and from the central passage, she must
return for help and lights, and make a
She walked on, again paused, shrieking in
her singing, ringing voice —
' Who are you who have been caught
down here ?'
This, however, did not last long. She
had neared the orifice overlooking the sea —
close to, it glowed like a lamp in the cliff
side — when her cry was echoed in a loud
note, and a man's shape stood between her
and the light.
' Oh, there you are !' shouted the girl,
greatly relieved. ' I was afraid you had got
lost in one of the off avenues.'
' You are extremely kind to come to my
help,' he exclaimed, approaching her.
She could clearly see the movements of
his shape against the disc that shone behind
' I don't know what I should have done.
I don't know how long I've been locked up.
I am very hungry, and could drink a gallon
1 6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
of beer. Was not I an idiot to come into
this place ?'
' I think you were,' she said. ' Did you
pull the stone up ?'
' Yes,' he answered, * and some villain
seeing me descend must have sneaked to the
pit and put the stone on, for when I returned,
making sure of my exit by that lighted hole
yonder, lo ! there was no light ; all was
blackness. I was without a stick, without
means to knock upon it. Good heavens !
what was I to do ? There was only one
way out, and that was over the cliff, about
eighty feet of fall, as I took it.'
* What brought you here ?'
' Curiosity, and,' said he, laughing, ' an
inborn love of booty. I had read in my
time a great deal of the old smugglers — of
their shifts and ways — and knew that this
and the adjacent coast contained many of
their caves. I got a plan of this one from a
man in your town, and entered it with a
candle, and explored by candlelight ; but
the candle burnt out long ago. Idiot-like,
I dreamt of run goods neglected, of hard
specie in canvas, and tobacco in wood.'
THE DEVIL'S WALK 17
' You never find such things,' said the
girl, ' in our caves — the men vs^ere too
cunning. They did not v^^ork for you or
* Pray what time is it ?'
' About noon.'
* Lord ! then I have been here since four
o'clock yesterday afternoon !'
* It is time we got out,' she exclaimed.
' Did never a man pass below in so many
* Two shrimpers only did I see far out —
aged, bowed shapes ; and I could not have
made myself heard.'
* Now hook your hand into this pleat,'
said she, taking his hand and fixing his
finger for him.
They walked in darkness. It never will
be known how it happened — whether Miss
Conway had, in that moment of excitement,
failed to take a glance at the wall-star at the
end, and turned with her companion into
one of the long out-leading corridors, or
whether she had absolutely forgotten her
geography of the place in the blackness that
was upon them, for she had never contem-
1 8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
plated passing more than a few steps beyond
the entrance to the cave. She grew sensible
of her blunder when they arrived at the ex-
tremity of the cutting, which had, doubtless,
other avenues forking out of it.
* I believe,' she cried, in a low voice, * I
have mistaken our cell.'
* In the name of mercy don't call it a
cell !' he exclaimed, with the very presence
of a shudder in his speech. ' In the long
hours that I have been haunting these holes
like a worm I have seen sights, and I have
heard sounds, and amongst the sounds I
heard was the faint, everlasting crying of the
dead for those they loved, passing through
* This is no place for such talk,' she
exclaimed, baffled by the blindness of the
They returned, still linked, but somewhat
ironically. It seemed certain now that they
took a turning to the left, for they missed
the star, and came against the blank wall of
the cliff, as they supposed. Strong of heart
as was the girl, she was beginning to grow
frightened ; nor was there any consolation
THE DEVIL'S WALK 19
to be found in the idea of her having a
companion and a protector. Who was he ?
Well, so far as his utterance could pronounce
him, he was a gentleman, gatherable from
his speech, of a somewhat heedless cast of
mind ; but how he looked, how he was
dressed, how tall he was, whether he was
black, brown, or white, she knew no more
than whither the rest of these caves tended.
She said —
' How long do you think I have been
down here ?'
* I should say half an hour,' he answered.
' You mean ten minutes,' she cried.
' Well, time lengthens itself whilst we
stop in this place,' he exclaimed. ' If we
have missed the avenue leading to the exit,
we may go hunting endlessly through
corridors for it.'
* No,' she exclaimed passionately. * If I
can see the daylight in the end, I shall know
where I am.'
They walked, and they continued to walk.
Ada's heart turned cold with horror. She
had no true conception of the ramifications
of these remarkable caves, and did not know
2 — 2
20 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
but that there might be wells and desperate
pits many feet deep sunk in some of the
windings. They all, no doubt, had their
hatchways or exits, long since buried under
the sands of time. Evidently it was a great
company of smugglers who had fashioned
this Devil's Walk.
' Where are we going V said the man,
stopping ; and Ada Conway stopped.
' I sha'n't know until I see the light in
the passage where I met you.'
* The mischief is,' cried the man, * that
we may be walking yoked round and round
endlessly, without ever coming to either
light. Good God, what a horrible issue to
this adventure ! Nobody ever visits this
place, I suppose V
' Only you,' said she ; ' and it's my
business to save you.'
' How sorry I am that you should be here
I can't say, yet it is natural to want to get
' But it seems so mad to come into this
smuggler's hole with a dream of booty, with
no further provision than a candle ; and it is
wonderful that you should not know by that
THE DEVIL'S WALK 21
same light that you had been entombed, and
spent a whole night underground !'
' Time flies and time loiters under wild
conditions. I can tell you that, for I'm a
* Are you ?' she ejaculated. * What
' I lately commanded a merchantman. I
have lain awake all night sick in hospital,
and have heard the quarters and halves strike
with the rapidity of chimes. I could not
have sworn that three hours have passed.
I shall look the time, I suspect, when I get
out. I am beginning to feel a bit weary of
this blackness, and long for that one round
of light that offered me a leap as an escape.'
As he spoke these words they made a step,
and lo ! on their left, at the extremity of
the passage, glowed, within fifty feet, the
cheery star of day.
' Hurrah !' shouted the man.
The girl, in a single sob, unheard by her
companion, expressed her pent-up feelings.
' Yes, there's the port-hole right enough,'
said the man. * Now you know the way.'
* Come along straight,' she said.
22 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
She led him as before, and touching the
wall, made a true course for the opening.
But as she advanced she grew very uneasy
on observing that no light fell through the
hatch-hole, and that the short flight of steps
was not visible in any definition of colour.
Her companion, stumbling slowly alongside
of her, presently noticed this.
' How did you get in ?' said he.
' By a trap which I left open.'
' It isn't night again, I hope,' said he,
with a ghastly laugh.
' I see no light,' she answered, * and this
is the corridor of the entrance. Oh, my
God ! I fear some meddlesome wretch,
whilst I've been talking to you, instead of
hastening above, has shut us down.'
* So that we can't get out ?'
* Not from within.'
' Well,' said he, after a pause, and with a
tone of courage in his voice, ' what we've
got to do is to go to that light- hole yonder
and wait for something to pass, and make
our case known. Somebody is sure to pass.'
' Let me see if I can feel the steps with
my foot,' said the girl. * But hold on to me.'
THE DEVIL'S WALK 23
He had brought out a large metal tinder-
box — but empty ; and in his fit of distraction
let it fall. She shrieked as if she had been
stung. The nerves of even stout-hearted
girls soon yield to blackness, to the associa-
tion of strange invisible men, and to the
probability of a frightful fate. He laughed
to encourage her, said what the thing was,
and groped and picked it up. She took him
to the steps, felt with her foot, and said,
' Feel for yourself. The trap-door is im-
* Well, if we mean to preserve our lives,'
said the man — * and God knows how sorry
I am that you should be here sharing my
imbecile fate — we must walk to that round
hole yonder, and keep a smart look-out on
the sands below. But I'll try first if this
stone can be lifted by shoving.'
He left her and got upon the short set of
steps, and strained with his hands. He could
not bring his shoulder to bear. In vain. He
toiled and groaned. He came down, and
feeling for her, said, * No ; the sight-seers
have made it easy from above ; but it is not
easy to thrust up from under, and if I were
24 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
twenty men I could not do it with my hands
in that narrow circumference.'
* Let's walk to that hole,' said the girl,
hooking him. ' It is our only chance.'
* Another sight-seer may descend,' said he.
* Few dream of booty in this age,' she
answered. * It is pretty well known,' she
continued, * that all are dry bones here.'
They gained the orifice. It framed a
noble picture of Channel ocean afternoon.
The seas ridged in glittering ranks, smoke
burst from their curtseying heads, and they
raced in groans upon the hidden beach
beneath, whitening out back to half a mile
of foam. Ships were in sight, blowing
upwards, blowing downwards, rendered
somewhat prismatic in the airy lens of that
smuggler's window. The tide was making
fast, and they could see nothing but white
* Look at that,' cried the man, pointing
The shuddering girl drew a foot or two
closer, and peered below. ' There is no
escape !' she exclaimed.
Now they looked at each other. The
THE DEVIL'S WALK 25
girl has been described. The man was the
sailorly -looking fellow you would expect to
see in him, after his confession of his calling.
The light shone very well here, and sank
for a distance of twenty or thirty feet into
the gloom, then went out in utter sudden-
ness into black blankness. Miss Conway
saw standing beside her a man of about
thirty years of age. He was dressed in the
style of the day when Peace had newly
lighted on the land, when the billows of our
home waters were no longer vexed by the
keels of contending cruisers, nor by their
thunder. He was decidedly handsome.
Hair cut short behind. He had lost his
hat, and she could see that his hair in front
was bushy and plentiful, coming over the
forehead in the * fine ' style of that age. He
had very striking features, but they looked
ashen and sunken now. He bowed to the
young lady when their gaze met, and said,
raising his hand —
' You perceive I have lost my hat.'
* We will not seek it,' she exclaimed.
He was dressed in a dark green cloth coat,
a coloured waistcoat and metal buttons. He
26 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
was covered with dust, had scratched himself
on the hands and face, and could not have
looked in a more sorry plight had he been
newly enlarged after a week's imprisonment
in the great Pyramid.
* Do no persons but you ever walk along
these sands when they are bare ?' said the man.
* At long intervals,' said she, finding some
faint reassurance in his presence and in the
light. * A boatman or a stranger in the
place might stroll as far as this from the
town. The tide is ugly, and it makes fast.'
' At that rate we are entombed, and must
die in the full sight of life,' cried the man,
leaning against the wall, and folding his arms
with a scowl. ' It is bad enough that I
should be here, cursed idiot that I am ! But
that I should have drawn you into a living
* I desire you will act as a man,' she inter-
rupted passionately. ' We must husband our
strength and preserve our voices. In to-day
or in to-morrow ' — but her tones failed her
as she spoke — * a man may pass within
reach of our voice, and learning who I am,
THE DEVIL'S WALK 27
He gazed at her with a sudden admiration.
She certainly made a noble heroic figure as
she stood viewing him in that strange tunnel-
like light, bright on the left, in gloom on the
right. Her eyes sparkled. She looked
down the corridor where the steps lay, then
sat down, placing her back against the wall.
It was clear that an under-dread possessed
her, but not so as to master her. The
thought of being locked down with a strange
man in a lonely cavern for an afternoon and
night — and for how much longer, who could
tell ? — was horrible ; it kept her soul shudder-
ing, so to speak. But the man's own con-
sternation was too excessive to take notice of
anything but this : that he was entombed in
a smugglers' cave where, as things stood,
there was every chance of their leaving their
bones. He squatted in a most disconsolate
posture opposite to her, and they both had
the light on them.
* This,' said the man, meaning the light,
* is worth something, anyhow.'
* Continual darkness is frightful,' she
answered ; * it drives men mad.'
'Who the deuce could figure that those
28 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
sands would be covered at flood ?' he cried.
' What an enormous waste they offer when
the water is low !'
* You must have slept, otherwise you
would surely know that you had already
spent a night in this place.'
* When I found I couldn't get out,' he
answered, ' I took to wandering in the dark-
ness, and lost the light, and losing that, lost
this corridor. I turned and plied and groped,
and then my candle being burnt out, I sat
down as I now sit, and I have no doubt I
slept. I awoke, and began to grope my
way along again, and after a long time my
hands brought me to some entrance just
down yonder, clear into the view of this
' Was it daylight ?' she asked.
* When you get out,' said she, smiling
faintly, * you will have had enough of the
* I shall thank God for my escape, madam,'
cried he, with real fervour, * if it is only for
your preservation. May I venture to ask the
name of the good and heroic lady who has
THE DEVIL'S WALK 29
come at the risk of her Hfe to release a man
from a living tomb ?'
* My name is Ada Conway,' she answered.
He stood up and made her a low bow.
* My father is Commander Conway, late
of the Royal Navy — what he will think —
what he will fear — the fruitless searches he
will be making — I am his only child — he
will suppose I have been overtaken by the
tide and drowned. Yet they should still be
looking for me there,' she exclaimed, gazing
out to sea.
* No, madam, they wouldn't creep in the
surf,' said he ; ' they'd watch for the breakers
to strand you. Permit me to introduce
myself. I am Captain Jackman, late of the
ship Lovelace^ which arrived home a week or
two ago. I left her, and having heard much
of these parts, thought I would make a cruise
to your neighbourhood, and a pretty cruise it
* Are you an American ?' she asked.
' No. I am supposed to descend from a
good old English family.'
' You have had no food since yesterday ?'
* Not a pinch of biscuit.'
30 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* Well, God must help us out. He must
help us out, for it is too, too awful,' she cried,
burying her face.
* If people don't pass to-day, they will
come along to-morrow,' said Captain Jack-
man ; * and I have got the voice of a lion.'
Saying which, he stood up and sent * Ship
ahoy ! For God's sake, help us,' slinging in
ringing echoes across the troubled breast of
■ * Ay !' she exclaimed ; ' but think what
must pass between now and to-morrow.'
She looked at her watch. * Do you know
the time V she inquired.
' ^j the light in the west, I should say it
is not far from six,' he answered.
' It is six,' she said, replacing her watch,
* and we have the night before us.'
* It must be borne,' said the man, with a
note of sulky sympathy, clasping his knees,
and fixing his eyes upon the sea.
It was about two o'clock in the morning, as
they came afterwards to know, when Ada
Conway sprang, with a violent ringing shriek,
to her feet. She had been sitting close to
the sphere in the cliff. Opposite to her
squatted the man, apparently in slumber.
The disc framed a scene of midnight heavens
full of palpitating stars, and slowly moving
snow-white clouds sailing northwards, and
a corner of moon like a silver spear-head
nestling in and visibly departing from the top
arch of the orifice.
The girl shrieked, and the man also sprang
to his feet.
' We are saved !' he shouted.
He caught her by the hand, and began to
run. In the direction of the steps there was
32 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
glowing a considerable glare of torchlight,
amidst which the forms of several figures
were clearly distinguishable, and whilst the
pair ran, a voice, loud as a trumpet, came in
echoes down through the hollow vault.
* Is Miss Ada Conway below here?'
' Yes,' screamed the girl.
* God Almighty ! Come to your father !
What are you doing in these vaults ?' And
the figure that was speaking started on per-
ceiving, by the strong torchlight, that the
girl approached with a male companion.
The commander was a little square man
of the * Boarders away !' type, equal, in his
heyday, when in charge of a boat and crew,
to a French or Spanish gunboat. He had
been one of the most gallant officers in the
service, and had quitted it as commander on
an income of his own.
Ada, recognising him by the light, threw
herself upon his breast in a wild storm of
weeping. She sobbed ; the commander
stood silent, surveying the handsome bare-
headed stranger, who was very visible in the
flashes the torch-bearers waved about him.
Then collecting herself with a sudden sense
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 22
of rapture at the thought that she was safe,
and with her father, she Hfted her head, and
holding her father's arm, exclaimed —
' Father, this is Captain Jackman. I was
passing along the sands yesterday morn-
* So ! Yesterday morning ! How many
yesterday mornings do you mean ?' groaned
' When,' continued the girl, * I heard this
gentleman crying for help out through that
hole there. I came on to the green and got
between the rails, and managed to lift the
stone and descended. We forgot ourselves
in talk ; we lost ourselves in deviating from
right to left. When we came to this place
it was in total blackness ; the stone was on,
and we were entombed.'
* Let's get on deck,' said Commander
They passed up through the trap, five of
them, lighting the land for a mile around.
How gloriously sweet and fresh and bound-
less was the night ! The piece of silver
moon shone over the sea and shed a little
light upon the earth. The stars sparkled,
34 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
and the white clouds floated with a majesty
that befitted their domain. Ada passed her
hand through her father's arm on rising out
of the earth, and exclaimed —
' Who could have put the hatch down
upon me, father ? There was no man in
sight when I went to let Captain Jackman
* He was that fellow Goldsmith/ answered
the commander. * He is one of the torch-
bearers. He instantly came to apprise me,
on recollecting. He said he fell asleep after
walking from Spenpoor, just past a brow
of land where you couldn't see him. No
sooner had you gone down than he must
have got up, and finding the cover off, put
it on, according to the custom of these
* The wretch,' cried the girl, turning and
straining her eyes at the three men in their
rear. * Couldn't you have guessed, you
savage, by sign of that stone being off,' she
shouted at Goldsmith, ' that there must be
people in the caves below ?'
* I vow to Peter, then,' cried Goldsmith,
waving his torch furiously so that the figures
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 35
of the people came and went in a cannibal
dance of glow, ' that I thought it was some
wicked trick of a boy, or that it had been
forgotten, and so I put it on again. God
* Who are you ?' said Captain Jackman,
addressing the other torch-bearer.
* My name is Herman, and I am a poor
boatman,' answered the man. ' I've got
nothing to do with this job.'
' Here,' said the captain, in the brisk tone
of the sea ; and he slipped a sovereign into
his hand. * Here, you Goldsmith,' and he
also slipped a sovereign into the hand of the
excited torch-bearer. ' See here,' said he,
* you pinned this lady down, and you might
have killed us both. You might for six-
pence, some ten years hence, have gone
below and started back at beholding two
skeletons lying athwart the entrance corridor.
But you did not mean it. You were quick
in your turn when reflection came to our
service. So take this.'
The man was profound in his bows and
brow-knuckling by the faint light of the
moon. The conversation had been listened
26 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
to in silence by the commander and his
* You've lost your 'at, sir. Shall I fetch
it for yer ?' said Goldsmith.
* I wouldn't send a wolf into that Devil's
Walk,' answered Captain Jackman, with a
' We'll find your 'at, sir,' said the two
men, and they plunged away back towards
the broken fence and the hole in the
* I wonder,' exclaimed Captain Jackman,
coming abreast of Commander Conway, * if
my little hotel will be open at this hour V
and he gazed down at the short square man
who trotted between him and his daughter,
whose head towered above her father's.
* No need to talk of hotels, sir. Happy
to put you up, I'm sure, after your desperate
experiences. My house is close by, and,
sir,' he said, turning, and extending his hand
and clasping that of Captain Jackman, * I
thank you, from the heart of a father, for
your courtesy during these long hours to my
Captain Jackman shook the old gentleman
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 37
by the hand and bowed, but made no reply ;
and they resumed their walk.
All their talk, till they arrived at the com-
mander's cottage, was about this singular
adventure under earth. Captain Jackman
freely owned this —
' I wouldn't take a guide, for my hopes
denied me one ; frankly and truthfully,
commander, I had been told that some
smugglers' booty lay in a branch tunnel of
this hiding-place, and my intention was to
look at it, and afterwards to take measures
to secure it by passing it through the
The commander's laugh had the sepul-
chral note of the Devil's Walk.
* We were famous smugglers in our time,
sir,' said he ; * we did not leave our run
goods, earned at the very risk of our lives,
to be fetched and enjoyed by strangers to
* Who told you of a treasure lurking in
an English cliff ?' asked Miss Conway.
' The master of a brigantine,' answered
the captain, ' who knew your little creek or
port well, and the whole of the smugglers
38 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
who had thronged it, before the lawless lot
discovered their diggings were of no use to
them, and departed.'
* That's not so long ago either,' said the
commander. ' It's not above four years
since that, from these cliffs, I witnessed one
of the most desperate actions I ever saw
between a large smuggler cutter and a
Government schooner. They made a run-
ning fight, then came to a stand with
wrecked canvas and blazing guns. They
fought with extravagant courage, sir ; then
the smuggler, with his scuppers running
crimson, threw his sweeps over, and by
heaven the schooner remained silent and
active only in making good the mischief
* It is abominably hard,' said Ada, * to kill
men for smuggling. I like the price of
* And what tobacco, sir, tastes like the
run stuff ?' said the captain.
' Here's my home,' said the commander.
He pushed open a front garden-gate.
The house lay in blackness, save that in
one corner a square of window was dimly
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 39
illuminated. No lights were visible beyond
in the neighbourhood of the town. It was
three o'clock in the morning, growing into
four, and the vast dome of midnight fast
and faster flashed with stars as the morning
grew. The horizon vanished in blackness
thrilling with the white of charging seas.
' Captain Jackman is ready to die of
hunger, father, and of thirst also,' said Miss
Conway, as the party of three stepped along
* He shall be fed,' said the commander.
' You'll be perished, Ada, I don't doubt.'
He put a key into his door, opened it,
and they entered.
An elderly woman in a dressing-gown,
her hair curiously curled, her figure im-
mensely stout, was descending the staircase,
holding high a candle as they entered. She
seemed to fall off the stairs, shrieking —
' I heard your voices. Oh, Miss Ada,
where have you been hiding yourself?'
* Thanks, Mrs. Dove, I am safe, and am
fortunate in having saved the life ot another,'
said Miss Conway, scarcely enduring the
old housekeeper's embrace, and motioning
40 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
towards Captain Jackman, to whom the stout
old woman bowed.
Mrs. Dove had been twenty-two years in
Commander Conway's family ; had nursed
Ada until she was too old to require a nurse;
had nursed Mrs. Conway through a long,
most distressing and fatal illness ; and was
now, in her somewhat advanced middle age,
appointed by the commander, in gratitude
for services rendered, to the honourable post
of chief mate of his little craft.
' We want something to eat, Mrs. Dove,'
said Ada. ' Is the servant up ?'
' No, miss. I let her lie. I could not
know you were coming.'
She pulled a small bell which rang up-
stairs, and they all went into the little room
that was lighted by a candle. The com-
mander lighted four or five more candles,
and this made light to see by.
* No,' said Ada. ' Til not go upstairs until
I go to bed, and then Fll sleep for a week.
I am not fearfully tunnel-soiled, I hope.'
And she stood up and turned herself about,
to the admiration of Captain Jackman.
It was a comfortable room that sparkled
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 41
out to those slender beams of candle. The
commander had had a little money with his
wife, and had put good furniture into his
home. Some maritime pictures of stirring
excellence hung upon his walls. A great
silver plate blazed at the back of the side-
board : the silver had been left out in the
excitement of that night. Captain Jackman
looked around him.
* How far is it from here to the " Faithful
Heart " ?' said he.
* You'll measure it easily in half an hour,'
answered the commander, whilst Mrs. Dove
went out to prepare a meal for them. ' But
why not sleep here ? You may find it hard
to get into your inn.'
The captain bowed.
' I fear,' said he, addressing Ada, ' that
I have sufficiently embarrassed you. Since
one o'clock yesterday morning in a dark pit,
with a shadowy stranger, and with a prospect
of a dreadful death confronting you ! Miss
Conway,' he said, bowing to her with shining
eyes, * you are the bravest young lady I have
ever read or heard of, and you deserve a great
heroic admiral for a husband.'
42 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
This was a queer compliment ; she laughed,
nevertheless, in clear enjoyment of his speech:
indeed, she got few speeches of any sort from
good-looking men, from men of any kind.
This even the commander secretly admitted
to himself was a peculiarly handsome man
who had complimented her.
A maid-servant, owl-like with wonder
and sleep, stumbled in with a tray of beef
and bread, and beer, and other matters.
Mrs. Dove followed. She placed the candles
and the chairs, and threatened to wait. The
commander told her to go to bed and take
the girl with her. He then took the head
of the table, and carved liberal trenchers for
the famished pair.
* This is good beer,' said the captain,
putting his mug down with a deep sigh.
' We are dull, but what we have is good.
Our views are magnificent, and although
Ada would like to live in London and dwell
within musket-shot of St. James's Palace, I
am satisfied, and therefore happy.' He
added suddenly, * Jackman ! The name
recurs to me. I think I saw a paragraph
in a little sheet that makes its way here-
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 43
abouts, stating that a Captain Jackman of
the ship Lovelace had been knocked down
in London, and robbed of fifteen hundred
' I am that man, sir,' said the captain,
without any emotion in his face.
* Was the money recovered ?' said the
* Not a dollar.'
* Have you any suspicions as to the thief?'
inquired Miss Conway.
* I believe he is a dirty little forecastle
hand, who got scent that I was carrying the
money ashore, and followed me,' answered
Captain Jackman. ' I saw such a figure
disappear as it threw my bag down an area.'
* Fifteen hundred pounds is a considerable
slice for a merchant vessel to lose in these
times, sir,' said the commander.
* And a merchant vessel is a considerable
slice for a master to lose at all times, sir,'
answered Captain Jackman.
' Have they dismissed you V inquired Ada.
* Yes,' said the captain with a careless
laugh, ' and so I came down here to enjoy
myself by getting locked down in a cave.
44 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
and making for one of the ugliest of deaths.
How can I thank you — how can I thank
you, madam ?' he said, languishing towards
Just then a single knock fell upon the
hall door, and the commander returned with
Captain Jackman's round hat.
* Thanks for all things,' he exclaimed, as
he took it.
* I wonder, sir,' remarked the commander,
* that you should have thought proper to
venture your life in an underground cutting
with one candle only.'
' It was a tall candle,' answered the captain ;
' and I did not think that I was going below
to be locked down.'
' True !' exclaimed old Conway.
Captain Jackman, in these few moments
of pause in the talk, seemed to make an
askant study of the commander, who sat
opposite. The light was poor for facial
revelations. He distinguished a rather stern
expression, brows heavily thatched with
white hair, a nearly bald head, with the
white hair cut short about the ears. He
was disproportionately square, and sat a
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 45
massive figure. The captain's scrutiny was
brief. He turned his eyes upon the young
lady, whose eyes met his ; then he looked
at the clock.
* I am the cause of keeping you out of
bed,' he said, rising. * Will you permit me
to retire ?'
* Show the captain his room, Ada,' said
The girl lighted a rush-light that was
upon the hall table, and led the way upstairs,
and the commander followed, calmly receiv-
ing the impassioned shake of the hand
Captain Jackman bestowed upon him.
That morning at ten o'clock Captain
Jackman awoke, and found himself in a
snug little bedroom of white dimity, trem-
bling with brilliance that streamed upon the
blinds from the sea. As he got out of bed,
he heard a woman singing low and clear.
He raised the blinds, and beheld a prospect
that assuredly justified C ommander Conway's
choice of residence. No loftiest mast-head
yields you a grander scene. It was painted
here and there with a ship, and was coloured
blue and white, and the heavens bent blue
46 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
to the edge of it ; but a number of clouds
of delicate shape, and charged with a dark
softness of rain, were rolling up from the
* This is a home to suit me/ thought the
captain, and, hearing the girl singing either
next door or downstairs, he fell a-musing.
The maidservant, answering his bell,
brought him the commander's razor and
some hot water, and in twenty minutes he
was downstairs. The house door was open,
and the commander walked up and down
his lawn, smoking a pipe of Dutch pattern.
He showed himself by daylight as a man ot
strong features, heavily bronzed, as by years
of travel. His eyes were a keen blue, and
deep set, and his mouth a curl, the under
lip slightly protruding.
' Good-morning, sir !' he exclaimed to the
captain. ' I hope you slept well.'
The usual civilities were exchanged.
' Breakfast will be ready when my daughter
is pleased to appear. She is risen,' said the
* I have been listening to her charming
voice. Is she your only child, sir ?'
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 47
* I lost a promising young son in the
navy eight years ago,' answered the com-
* I served as midshipman in the navy,'
exclaimed Captain Jackman.
* Oh !' said the commander, with sudden
interest. * What ship and captain, sir ?'
* The Parkhurst ; Captain Trottman.'
* I knew them both. A fine frigate, and
a stout seaman. Why didn't you stick to
the service ?'
' Why, the life of the mercantile flag was
free and easy ; it ofl^ered more money ; it
provided plenty of voyages and chances. I
never particularly coveted the glory that was
to be got in the navy. I should want my
* That sort of glory is a slow sunrise with
us, sir,' said the commander.
* Then, again, I was to a certain degree
independent,' continued Captain Jackman,
talking in a careless, confidential way. ' My
father had left me an annuity — not, indeed,
enough to roll on wheels with — that and a
small, handsome brig under two hundred
tons, now lying in the East India Dock. I
48 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
have often been tempted to sell her. Now
that my kindly owners have given me my
quietus through no fault of my own, I have
a very great mind to fit her out '
' And go for a cruise on the Account,'
interrupted the clear voice of a girl.
And Captain Jackman, turning, clasped
the extended hand of Miss Conway.
Her garb was simple and charming. The
hat she held was a kind of helmet, with a
wreath and a tuft of feathers. She stood in
the pride of her fine but simple apparel.
* Breakfast should be ready,' said the com-
He led the way into the house. Captain
Jackman and Miss Conway followed, chatting
with life and spirit over the wonderful inci-
dent of yesterday. How could such a heart-
shaking sensation be exhausted ! The
commander had furnished a savoury break-
fast of large fried soles and delicate fried
whiting, and bacon and eggs. They seated
themselves ; and when the captain had
concluded his apologies for detaining the
commander, he turned to Miss Conway, and
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 49
* You have read books which deal with
* Yes. Papa will tell you that I was ever
a lover of the pirate. I mean the real thing,
not the Byronic dandy with his bright
costume and four or five houris and lovely
homes on coral strands. I love the rough
brute with a slash across his brow — the man
who has lost a piece of his nose, who,
perhaps, has captured a Spanish galleon
whilst skipper of a vessel of twenty or thirty
' It has been done,' said the commander.
* If there's a scoundrel this side the moon,
it's the pirate. All the woods of Scot-
land could not furnish gibbets enough for
him. Give the piccaroon the stem, you
know. That's the cry through the ser-
vice, sir. We'd show mercy to anything
* In spite of my father's objections to
pirates. Captain Jackman,' said Ada Conway,
leaning back in her chair, and beginning to
laugh, and showing a fine set of white and
even teeth, ' if I had your ship, I would
equip her as a privateer, and sail away as a
50 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
sea-robber. What splendid luck should
always attend such enterprises, seeing that
your quarry is the clumsy, unprepared,
easily-frightened merchantman ! whilst you
— a single broadside might settle the matter,
and win you enough treasure to fill you a
large cave with.'
Captain Jackman, laughing lightly and
gazing with admiration at the young lady,
tapped applause of her sentiments with his
knife upon the table.
* I would advise you to stick to the
honourable red flag,' said the commander.
* Freights are always ruling low, as they
call it,' answered the captain, * and a man
wants an office and a book-keeper ; and
there are expenses ashore going on,' said
he, addressing the commander, but with
occasional side looks at Ada, ' But, depend
on't, any scheme I may form shall provide
for my neck.'
' I cannot, I will say, consider the revenue
worth the loss of a drop of blood, were it
not for the officials of it,' said the com-
mander, who was making a great breakfast
off fried sole.
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 51
* How are your blockaders coming for-
ward, sir ?' inquired the captain.
* They are very sparsely settled at present,
and they are not coming forward. I doubt
if there's half-a-dozen preventives betwixt
this and St. Ives. It must grow into a con-
siderable force if it is to protect the revenue.
They keep their few best men about Folke-
stone and Ramsgate ; and there the fighting
is mostly going on. Calais is near ; so is
Dunkirk. The Goodwins are convenient for
* What could have made them construct
such caves as Miss Conway and I were
locked up in ?' asked the captain.
* They probably had an idea. In the
middle of it they found that it would not
work out, so they dropped it with the
dexterity of men accustomed to rapidity of
thought and action.'
* I believe there are similar caves some
leagues round the coast — Cornwall way —
perhaps in Cornwall,' said the captain.
The girl, looking at him a little expres-
sively, said, ' You had better take two candles
with you next time.'
52 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
He smiled and bowed, whilst she was all
geniality and kindness, in arch humour of
fair face of gipsy cast.
* I do not believe, madam,' said he, ' that
I shall disturb the silence of another smuggler's
* Booty or no booty ?'
* Don't mislead the gentleman, Ada,' ex-
claimed her father. * There is no booty.
I would not give the value of this button,'
said he, fingering one of his coat-buttons,
* for the whole of the booty that you shall
find deliberately left, never more to be
fetched by these free-traders.'
* I had hoped,' said Ada, whose eyes shone
over her mounted colour, * that you were
going to submit a romantic project ; I am
very romantic myself I could die for a
lovely young man.'
The commander grinned.
' If he was worth dying for. Must he be
lovely ?' said Captain Jackman, pushing his
chair from the table and nursing his knee,
and regarding her with obstinate pleasure, for
he not only found her a handsome woman ;
she had saved his life at the risk of her own.
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 53
' I had thought,' continued the girl,
* from the interest you take in these caves,
and by your accent, which is sHghtly
* Ho !' cried the captain, * that's news
* That you were going to fit out your
brig with some romantic reference to these
holes in the rocks. Strange ideas enter one's
' They do indeed, madam.'
They rose fi-om the table. The captain,
turning to the commander, said, putting all
the graceful bows and courtesy of that age
into his demeanour —
* Will you, commander, and Miss Conway,
give me the pleasure, the real pleasure —
of your company at dinner at the " Faithful
Heart " ? Say six o'clock.'
The commander seemed to pause. The
girl's eyes burnt upon him. He began a
little awkwardly —
' x^s strangers, sir, we really have no
* Do not speak of me as a stranger, I beg,'
said the captain.
54 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
The commander looked at his daughter,
saw a quarrel in her fine eyes, sulkiness
running into days, much discomfort to an
elderly widower living with an only child,
and so he whipped out —
* Be it so, captain. We will be with you
at six o'clock.'
Shortly after this. Captain Jackman left
the pretty little house, having stood a few
minutes by Miss Conway's side, greatly
admiring the spacious view from the lawn.
The commander walked to the side of his
daughter, who remained on the lawn, watch-
ing the departing figure of Captain Jackman.
' What do you think of him, father ?'
said she, laying her hand upon his square
* Think ! He is no introduction of yours
that we should think,' cried the little seaman.
* You know him through me, and cannot
but have thoughts about him, good or bad,'
she exclaimed, with an irritable toss of her
head, dropping her hand.
' Well, betwixt you and me,' said the
commander, turning to take a view of his
house, ' I don't like him.'
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 55
' Oh, I knew it would be so !' she ex-
claimed. * He is much too handsome.
Had I appeared in the company of an old
man of sixty, with a brown wig down his
back, and a yellow nose down his face,
you would have found him a welcome pre-
The commander did not readily lose his
temper. * I do not like this man because
I do not like his manner of losing fifteen
hundred pounds — the property of others.
It is strange. It is peculiar. It is memor-
able. And I recollected it, as you may have
observed, when we were seated.'
' Was it good taste V said the girl, slightly
' Oh, we don't live in these parts to
cultivate what you call taste ! We speak
the truth — or should.'
* What do you want to imply, father ?'
The commander looked at the ocean and
* You mean to say,' continued the girl,
' that Captain Jackman knocked himself
down and robbed his owners of fifteen
hundred pounds .f"
56 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* They do not charge him with it ; why-
should I, whatever I may think ?' And
humming a popular song of that day, the
commander turned on his heel and went into
His daughter remained on the lawn —
looking at the sea, do you think ? No ;
but at the fast disappearing figure of Captain
Jackman, whom, on her own confession, she
thought a handsome man. A handsome
man was of more interest and rarity than a
sea view, which she had gazed at hundreds
of times o'er and o'er. The race of the sea
flashed in vain ; its heavy guns of breakers
thundered at deaf ears ; that fine frigate
abreast, with canvas white as driven snow
so leaning as to expose a portion of her
bright copper, the long wake bubbling and
rushing, swept through the deep before
blind eyes. No beauty of cloud, of liquid,
or land recess could arrest her ; she saw but
a figure, and when it vanished, she re-entered
the house with a very thoughtful face.
Captain Jackman walked straight into the
little town. A little town it was, with one
good, and two or three middling streets. It
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 57
had a row of houses called the Lawn, and
most of the important people of the town
lived there. Captain Jackman went straight
to the * Faithful Heart,' and entered the
darkling bar that had a brightness of re-
flected oak, and of highly polished pewter,
and said to the woman who sat sewing
' You see I have returned, Mrs. Davis !'
* God bless me ! Yes,' cried the little
woman, starting from her chair, dropping
her work, and staring at him. *We all gave
you up for drowned.'
' I was in direr plight — I was entombed.'
Asking for a glass of brandy, he told her
the story, whilst the landlord came in from
the backyard to listen. He then went
upstairs to his bedroom. He looked at
himself in the glass, and seemed satisfied.
The scars of the night of darkness had worn
off, the tunnel stains had vanished. He
took a considerable sum of money in gold
out of his portmanteau or valise, and went
downstairs. He called to Mrs. Davis.
* A word with you in your front parlour,
58 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
She rose, curtseyed, and conducted him
to a front room of a fair size.
' This will do,' said Captain Jackman.
* Here's quite room enough. I want to
give a dinner to two friends at six o'clock
to-night. Can you manage it for me ?'
* You shall have the best that is to be had,
sir ; and I may truly say that my cooking is
known far and wide.'
* The guests are Commander Conway and
his daughter. Do you know them V
* By sight and name, sir. They are a
little ' And here, not choosing to abase
herself, she curtseyed.
Why should worthy Mrs. Davis have told
the handsome gentleman that Miss Conway
would no more have regarded her than the
mould she trod on ?
* I will make out a list of dishes now,*
said the captain.
Mrs. Davis fetched a pencil and slate,
and Captain Jackman, in the time that the
well-known poet, Smithson, takes to turn
out a sonnet, safe in the applause of fifty
other Smithsons, had made out a really
handsome dinner for those days of plain
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 59
dishes. He then left ihe inn, and walked
slowly up the High Street, looking into the
shops on either hand, until he came to a
jeweller's shop, at which he made a stand.
After inspecting the furnished window,
he entered, and said to a bald-headed man
behind the counter —
* This is a little place for a big order.*
* I hope not, sir. There may be larger
shops, but there are not a better class of
* I want the very best,' said Captain
Jackman, looking darkly at the bald head.
* Show me the best bracelets in your posses-
' At what price ?' stammered the old fool.
* I said the best,' thundered Captain Jack-
man, * and I want one without delay.'
The man with the bald head produced
a number of bracelets. They were not
very good. He knew it, and did not make
much of them. The captain pish'd and
tossed them, and was going, when the bald-
headed man cried out suddenly, as to an
' I beg your pardon, sir. Six months
6o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
ago, a family in this neighbourhood failed,
and amongst the stuff sold was their
jewellery. Some of it came into my hands.
I can let you have the most magnificent
bracelet you ever saw, providing that you
don't care that it is second-hand, and I will
give you a guarantee that I will return the
money should the lady find out that it was
' Right,' said the captain.
The man disappeared, and the captain
stood in the shop door looking at the town ;
then returned on the jeweller re-entering.
The man, with a proud eye, placed on the
counter a very beautiful bracelet, of old
pattern, sparkling with diamonds and precious
stones, massive, and wrought into some device
' London shall not beat this, sir,' said the
' This suits me,' answered Captain Jack-
man. * How much ?'
The shopkeeper had clearly just made up
* It is a second-hand article, sir. I'll not
charge you more than forty-five guineas.'
CAPTAIN JACKMAN 6i
The captain carefully examined the thing.
He admired it hugely ; it was probably a
hundred years old, and was, perhaps, cheap
at a hundred guineas. It was a beautiful
gift for a beautiful woman, and the captain,
putting it down, pulled out a handful of
gold. The bald-headed jeweller stared at
the sight of so much money. He was to
stare at another handful before forty-five
guineas could be told.
' Pack it,' said Captain Jackman, in the
abrupt commanding manner of the sea ;
' and give me a pen and ink and paper,
that I may send a letter with it.'
The jeweller cleared a little table for him,
and set a chair at it, and the captain began
to write. It was a fine, dashing hand, a
' I have respectfully to entreat Miss
Conway's acceptance of the accompanying
trifling memorial of an incident which must
have turned out a terrible tragedy to me,
but for her noble bravery. So poor a jewel
cannot possibly express the sensations which
62 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
By the time this letter was written, the
jeweller had packed the bracelet.
* Address it,' said the captain, and he
gave the address. This done, he exclaimed,
* Have you got a messenger you can
* I have my son, sir.'
The son was working upstairs. In a few
minutes he was on his way to the home
of the Conways, with the beautiful gift and
letter in his pocket, whilst Captain Jack-
man, bestowing a farewell nod on the
jeweller, stepped forth to take a view of
the town, and to see what the little harbour
Captain Jackman walked down the steep
street watched by the jeweller and a hair-
dresser who had stepped from opposite when
the captain marched off.
* A few of him would open these cliffs
and let in more houses and people. God
bless me ! I never thought to sell it, and
yet he's got a bargain.'
* What's the article ?' inquired the hair-
' A bracelet. It's cost him forty-five
guineas. I believe he'd have given a
hundred for it.'
* What is he, do you think ?'
* A sailor, I should say.'
'Did he pay cash V
' Bright cash.' And the jeweller, half-
closing one eye, pulled out a handful of
64 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
glittering sovereigns, at which the hair-
dresser gazed with admiration.
* Perhaps he's the gent that got himself
lost in the Devil's Walk/ said the hair-
The jeweller smote his thigh and cried,
' That's it ! And the bracelet's gone to
Captain Jackman disappeared from their
gaze. He turned the corner of the long
gap, which was scarcely made a street of
by the row of houses on top, and found
on the right a short wooden wharf about
whose piles the seas were toiling. A
number of fine fishing-boats lay off this
wharf, and rode the rolling comber with
perfect grace to their anchors. Westward,
beyond this wharf, was a sort of natural
harbour; but it was evident that the place
was only used by the men for convenience,
and that they landed their catches in other
' Well, what's doing here ?' said Captain
Jackman to a tall, powerfully built seaman
in the rough dress, heavy boots, belt, and
hanging cap of those times.
THE DINNER 65
* There we are,' said the man, pointing to
the smacks rolling broadside on to the wharf.
' But do you fish in this part ?' said the
The strong man, with a face put together
in pieces like masses of putty, answered —
* We fish where we think there is any-
thing to be caught.'
' What's the smuggler doing down here
* Oh, they're all gone away to the east-
'ard !' answered the man, with a note of
* But they thought well of this place
once upon a time. Men must live to learn
that they're fools. Who would sail a
hundred and fifty miles to run a cargo when
he may set it ashore on this coast with only
the danger of a third of the distance ?
Were you ever at sea as a sailor V said the
The man smiled, and showed his immense
yellow teeth, and, pulling off his cap, combed
down his grisly hair.
* I've served at sea on blue water thirty
years. I've come to this because I can earn
66 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
more money by it. I've served in men-o'-
war and merchantmen, and was second mate
of the West Indiaman St'rius.'
' What's your name ?' said the captain.
' Bill Hoey,' answered the man.
' Where do you live ?'
The man gave his address, which Captain
Jackman entered, along with the name, in a
' Have you got any family V said the
' An old mother turned of ninety. I
buried my sunshine twenty year ago.'
* How would you like to take a voy age
with me in a fine brig ?'
' On what errand ?'
' Simply a voyage of discovery. We
would discourse that matter on board, when
all hands were assembled.'
' How would you rate me ?'
' Can you take the altitude of the sun ?'
* Yes, sir.'
* You shall be my chief mate. I like
The man grinned and said, * How about
the money, sir ?'
THE DINNER 67
* I am my own owner. There will be no
difficulty about wages. Here's my name
He scribbled them on a fly-leaf of his
note-book, tore the leaf out, and the man,
after reading it, put it into his breast.
* If you know of other likely lads who
have a fancy for a brisk and merry voyage
from London town to the Land of Romance,
and who are willing to count their pay in
sovereigns instead of shillings, I shall feel
obliged to you,' said the captain.
Bill Hoey touched his cap. He was
beginning to regard this gentleman with
The captain stood bending his brows in
a searching glance along the ten or dozen
men who were hanging about the wooden
wharf, leaning against the timber heads
smoking and talking in growling notes ;
then with a sharp * Good day,' he whipped
round and walked up the gap.
When he arrived on top of the cliffs, he
turned to his left and walked a couple of
miles along the edge, pausing where a curve
gave him a view of the coast. He sought
68 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
also with keen eyes inland. It was clear
from his looks, after he had turned on his
heel and struck for the town, that this place,
or its vicinity, was not to his taste. He
pulled out his pipe and lighted it ; but the
brave wind, gushing in a blue fountain over
the edge of the cliff, made but a short smoke
of it for him.
He amused himself in various ways that
day, chiefly in asking questions about the
practices of the smugglers when they used
these parts. He gained a great deal of in-
formation from the bald-headed jeweller,
whom he saw leaning in his shop-door.
He asked him if the bracelet had been
delivered, and they fell into conversation,
watched by the hairdresser opposite, who
wished his father had bred him a jeweller.
This jeweller had much to tell of midnight
affairs down on the wharf, and landings
contrived on the beach amidst a crackling of
blunderbuss and pistol. The revenue people,
he said, had always been, as they still were,
as determined and heroic as their foemen.
' But,' said Captain Jackman, * I am told
that you have no revenue people left here.'
THE DINNER 69
The jeweller answered —
* There is one, I believe, paces the cliff
side 'twixt ' And he named two little
places on the coast.
* That's to the east'ard,' said the captain.
' Yes, sir. For some unnameable reason,
considering they had taken so much trouble
in the Devil's Walk, the whole body of the
men sailed east.'
* So that further west, and further west
still,' said Captain Jackman, * you'll scarcely
find a look-out.'
* I doubt if you'd find one.'
* Why don't they run their goods west,
then ?' said the captain. * No look-out is
what they want, isn't it ?'
* They'd be watched and followed, sir. It
is a difficult calling, full of blood and murder.
It don't seem worth while, for my part.
Some comes off with profits worth naming ;
but the gains on the whole are poor, and
the gibbet's rope is dangling over their heads
all the time they're earning their desperate
' So it is,' said the captain, and he strolled
across to his little inn.
70 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
At six o'clock the table was prepared, and
Captain Jackman was awaiting the arrival
of his guests, who appeared on foot as the
church clock struck the hour. Miss Conway
was rosy red ; her first words were —
' Captain Jackman, I have not words to
thank you. This is indeed a glorious
gift.' And throwing aside her mantle, she
showed that she wore the jewel on her left
* I know not what the value of my life
expresses, madam,' said Captain Jackman,
smiling as he perceived the bracelet. * But
if I had fifty lives to save, each one, to put
it prosaically, worth a thousand, that trinket
could not seem more shabby as an illustration
of its worth than it now is.'
' I did not think that our little town
could have turned out so splendid a piece
of jewellery,' said the commander, looking
around him, particularly at the old prints
of sea-fights. * It is the handsomest thing
of the sort I ever saw, and my daughter
should be obliged to ye.'
* She is, I assure you,' she exclaimed.
* On such charming conditions who would
THE DINNER 71
object to release strangers from smugglers'
The landlady conducted Miss Conway
upstairs, and she came down in a few
minutes, delightful in colour, stature, de-
meanour, and dress. She wore her hair so
that it fell thick and low on one side ; the
other side was balanced by a handsome comb.
A quantity of frills sat upon her neck and
shoulders, leaving exposed a portion of her
white bosom, which was further sweetened
by the late beauty of an autumn flower.
They took their seats. A man waited.
It was to be a good dinner, the commander
' I've been taking a look about your
neighbourhood,' said Captain Jackman.
* Very pretty, and the sea view spacious,
but rather tame, I fear.'
' Yes,' clipped in Miss Conway. ' Those
who praise this place when the summer is
glowing with roses forget the seven months
of winter, the roaring chimneys, the eternal
crash of sea, so cold that your marrow
hardens to it ! You can't leave your house
for the snow, nobody can come to see you.
72 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
and this is the life my father dedicates his
only daughter to !'
But she did not speak in temper. No
swell of bosom or sparkle of eye accom-
panied her words. It seemed indeed as if
she merely coquetted with the point, and
Captain Jackman noticed it.
* The fact is,' said the commander, fasten-
ing his eye on Captain Jackman, ' I am too
poor to live anywhere else.'
* I hate poverty,' exclaimed the captain,
with a scowl ; 'it is the most detestable of
human misfortunes. What is meant by
being poor ? To possess all the desire
without the capacity of enjoyment. Fortu-
nately there is no poverty at sea ; money is
not wanted. There is nothing to buy.'
' You shall not call yourself a poor man
here. Captain Jackman,' said Miss Conway,
flashing an arch look at him.
* How is a man to make his fortune in
this age,' continued the captain, * now that
the wars are ended, and there is nothing to
be done in buccaneering and the loose trades ?
What use, for example, can I put my brig
THE DINNER 73
* You see,' said the commander, ' being a
naval man I have very httle knowledge of
the merchant side of the ocean life.'
* I shall sell her, she is of no use to me,'
said the captain, looking at Miss Conway.
* Is she fit to go to sea ?' asked the
* She wants about three hundred pounds
spent upon her, and where am I to get it ?'
The young lady looked down with a face
of remorse at the beautiful bracelet upon
her wrist. It was a speech in bad taste, yet
it did not lessen the beauty of his face nor
the agreeable mystery he seemed to carry
' I doubt if you will stop here long,' said
the commander. * Any sea-faring business
brought you here, may I venture to ask ?'
* None. Nothing but a wish to see if the
smugglers had left some booty behind them ;
and to lounge about this part of the land
until my finances advised me to arrive at a
' You should always be able to get com-
mand of a ship. Captain Jackman,' said the
74 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' Not so easy now I have been dismissed
' Oh no !' muttered the commander, ' dis-
missed for a misadventure. Had it been
theft, sir, you would not have been here, nor
should we be enjoying the splendid dinner
you are giving us.'
He tippled down another glass of cham-
pagne. Very good champagne it was ; his
eyes beamed with it and the port, and the
hardness had dissolved from his looks, and
his face expressed the smiling side of him.
* They'll all understand what my discharge
means,' said the captain. * I had served the
owners with heroic honesty, having brought
off their lumbering merchantman from a
very heavy ugly pirate, right amidships of
the Atlantic. We made a running fight of
it, and I brought the rogue's foretopgallant
mast down. The villain rounded to, and
my good friends' bales and tea were saved.'
* They choose to forget that,' said Miss
* A shipowner,' said the captain, in a soft
voice, addressing himself to the girl, * is by
birth a scoundrel, who will not forgive you
THE DINNER 75
one error — one oversight ' — his forefinger
flew up in seeming passion — * be your record
the most dutiful, honourable, and lucrative
of them all.'
' I can believe it,' said the commander,
with a loud laugh ; * and yet you are for
choosing the red flag instead of my own
* How long were you at sea last voyage ?'
asked Miss Conway, whilst the captain
gloomily gazed at the commander.
' Twenty-four months.'
' And you have had command in other
ships ?' she said.
' In several,' he answered.
' You are a young man,' she exclaimed,
whilst her eyes lingered upon his face with
evident delight, * to have been in command
* Shall I tell you a secret, madam ?' said
he, smiling. * In fact, shall I tell you my
age ? Then learn it by this, that I was
twenty when I first took charge of a ship.'
* Very young and very creditable. It
works you out at about thirty,' said the
76 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
The captain bowed as if to a sentence of
He dined them as sumptuously as the
shops of that place could provide : and after
dinner they went upstairs to a spinet, where
Miss Conway gave them some music. She
played very prettily, and sang also. But
her singing was not of the fine quality you
would have expected in a girl who possessed
a voice. Captain Jackman's eyes were
riveted to her all the while she sat at the
spinet ; and he declined to give heed when
the sturdy old commander slung a question
across the room to him in the midst of his
daughter's performance. A strange old
room in a vanished inn ! You can dine
on the site, but not in the house. It was
probably then a hundred years old, was low
pitched, wainscot bright with time, ceiling
covered with carvings of flying Cupids and
fruits, and the furniture was in keeping,
dull, dim, and dusty.
Thus they amused themselves till about
half-past eight, during which time the com-
mander and Captain Jackman drank some
hot whisky-and-water. They then lighted
THE DINNER 77
their pipes and sallied forth, the commander
pausing in the bar to sing out in a deep bass
* A very good dinner, Mrs. Davis. I
would never wish to sit down to a better.'
The good woman, who had really done
her best, dropped curtseys in the fine old
English style, coming round out of the bar
that she might continue to curtsey, until the
lady and gentlemen were in the street.
Commander Conway was by no means
anxious that Captain Jackman should see
them home ; he felt sure he must be tired ;
he had been on his legs all day ; it was a
long walk, and then there was the walk
back. The captain said he would accom-
pany them part of the way only, and strode
on the young lady's left, where the beautiful
bracelet was. They talked together, and the
commander did not seem to greatly heed; in
truth the coming out into this strong fresh
air had a little staggered his senses.
' Ours, Captain Jackman, has been a
strange meeting,' said the girl. * I shall
never cease praising my judgment for taking
a walk on the sands that morning.'
78 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
*■ I owe my life to you,' said he, in a low,
somewhat impassioned voice, * and mean to
keep it for you. Let you marry whom you
will, I marry no one but you.'
At this extraordinary speech she walked
a little fast, so as to carry her ahead ; but
she fell back easily into her place, whilst her
father on the other side of the captain was
singing, * The Bowline's Hauled.'
' I would rather not talk of anything of
this sort at present,' said the girl, after a
prolonged pause. * You are not, I hope,
returning very soon ?'
* Not too soon,' he answered.
' What's that light out there V shouted
the commander, pointing to the dark and
troubled slope of sea.
' A flare of distress,' answered the captain.
They stood looking, talking about the
light, which presently disappeared, and
when they walked on all three chatted.
The conversation was general until Captain
Jackman bade farewell to them about half
a mile distant from the commander's house.
' I don't like him. I can't make up my
mind to like him,' said the commander, as
THE DINNER 79
he trudged with a roll forward towards the
square shadow where his own square shadow
lived. . * He is liberal with his gifts, and
gives a good dinner.'
* And for that he is to be abused !'
exclaimed the girl. * Considering he is
a sailor, he is the most perfect gentleman
T ever met ; much more so than the rough
and cursing creatures you meet with in the
navy. He has a beautiful face, and his
attention to me that night in the tunnel
never shall I forget while my heart beats.
You don't seem either to much value the
life of your child in your abuse of the man.'
The commander trudged on more rapidly.
He was sleepy, and besides, Miss Conway,
imperious, sarcastic, overbearing, always con-
quered the square little fellow, whatever
might prove the discussion.
Now for the next two days nothing was
seen of Captain Jackman. Miss Conway
was mortified and astonished. Could it be
possible that the giver of the magnificent
bracelet, the partner in their tragic experience
under earth, the man who had cleverly run
acquaintance into friendship in a single day
8o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
through a hospitable and sparkHng occasion ;
could this man, after what he had said to
her last night, have slunk away on the coach
for a fresh destination, contenting himself
with having made a fool of another girl and
paid a fair price for his valuable life ?
She walked down the one street, and in
and out of it. She walked on to the wharf.
She strolled where she thought she would
If it is false that a girl cannot fall in love
at sight with a handsome man, then this tale
is a lie, for assuredly Miss Conway could
not have been more in love with Captain
Jackman had they been betrothed a year.
On the third day, however, she was standing
at her bedroom window, which gave a clear
view of the reach to the crazy rail of the
smugglers' hole, when she saw a figure
wrapped in a cloak pass the house within
gunshot. He did not seem to notice the
house, but walked straight on, making
apparently for the Devil's Walk. Her
heart beat a little fast. She knew him.
Should she go out and meet him, and
challenge his reason for not calling and
THE DINNER 8i
proving himself as friendly as he was on the
first day ?
She was a young woman with a character
as hard as the rock she dwelt on, and she
was perfectly fearless in the execution of her
ideas. She had been pining for this man.
He was out yonder walking. She wanted
him ; so she put on her hat, left the house,
and followed him.
As she stepped into the road Mrs. Porter
came along. Mrs. Porter was a tall, stately,
stout lady, the widow of an admiral. She
was the very last person that Ada could
have wished to see just then.
* Ah, my dear Miss Conway,' she cried,
* I have been on the look-out for you, and
meant to have called this very afternoon.
What can you tell me about your wonderful
night in the Devil's Walk ? And what
has become of the beautiful young man
you were locked up with ? Oh, fie !'
She shook her head with a succession of
odd smirks, and continued —
* They're all saying, if he is a gentleman
and can support you, you must marry him.'
* If you knew how I detest the opinions
82 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
of people you would not force them upon
me,' said Ada Conway, looking very darkly
at stout Mrs. Porter, and then casting a
glance of blazing impatience in the direction
of the cloaked figure that seemed to be
making for the smugglers' trap.
' But wasn't it shocking ?' continued Mrs.
Porter, * without a light, alone with a man
whom you had not seen !'
' But you know the story,' said Ada, with
a trifle of arch sarcasm in her tone ; ' why
do you want it over again, good Mrs.
* We love to drink from the original
spring, that was the admiral's favourite
saying. Never trust a story or a report,
he would say ; go and talk to the man who
figured in it.'
*Well, I shall be seeing you this after-
noon perhaps, Mrs. Porter; meanwhile I'm
off for a walk, far beyond your ambling
paces; so farewell.'
She blew the old lady a kiss in the most
gracious style of that age, then swept aw ay
without another word.
The commander, standing in his window,
THE DINNER 83
caught sight of her, and rushed round out
of doors slap into the arms of Mrs. Porter.
* Why, commander,' began the lady, * this
is an unexpected pleasure indeed.'
' Hi! Ada, where are you going?' shouted
the old seaman, in his roughest voice.
Ada half turned her face and made an
ironic flourish of farewell, but spoke no
' She's after that man,' said the com-
mander, with a black look in the direction
of the becloaked figure. * She's fallen head
over heels in love with him, and he must
either be forced out of the place or '
* What, Captain Conway — do say what V
cried Mrs. Porter.
* Or battened down in the Devil's Walk
to cry again from help for another pretty
* Give that out, and the sands will not
want paraders,' said humorous Mrs. Porter.
They stood conversing. The commander
was detained by the lady who would have
hindered Ada. So even Mrs. Porters have
their uses. Meanwhile the girl, whose
heart her father knew, rough old seaman
84 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
as he was, was stepping out briskly, literally
in chase of the man she was determined to
have a meeting with. She was only slightly
vexed that her father had seen him pass ;
she would rather her father had been asleep
in an armchair, or shaving himself in his
bedroom, which did not overlook Captain
Jackman. Jackman took the ground with
an actor's tread ; her pursuit carried the
sound of her footsteps to his ears ; he
turned, looked, started with pleasure and
astonishment, and ran forward to meet the
* I am surprised,' she cried, with her face
red as fire, * that you should think it friendly
to stay away from our house for two days,
never to inquire how I was after that bar-
barous night underground, and now to give
the go-by to our home.'
He held her hand whilst she spoke, and
answered, * I was away yesterday, madam ;
but in any case I should not have called. I
saw dislike in your father's face.'
' My father dislikes everything that is not
aged and rotten. He buys old books, and
if they're printed in characters he can't read.
THE DINNER 85
so much the better. He believes in the
ships of a hundred years ago, and laughs
with a sneer at the line-of-battle ships of
to-day. He has lived for years a stagnant
life ; it is a pond on which all sorts of ugly
weeds grow and blow. Do not concern
yourself with his dislike. Where are you
* I was going merely for a stroll as far as
the entrance to the Devil's Walk. Frankly,
in expectation of meeting you,' he answered,
with his eyes filled with active love fastened
The colour sank out of her face when she
noticed that look. She was loved, and the
truth went to her heart.
' We will walk as far as the smugglers'
hole and then return,' said she, taking
possession of him with an easy spirit that
made him adore her grace, and wonder
where she had learnt her engaging airs.
* Where did you go yesterday ?'
* To a little village ten miles down the
coast,' he answered. ' Did you notice the
other night as we walked home the light
of a flare upon the sea ?'
86 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* Well, it proved, as I suspected, a distress
signal. It was burnt on a roughly con-
structed raft which managed, by dint of
boards and other contrivances, to strand itself
in safety. They were eight men. I heard
the tale in your town. They were smugglers
who had lost their vessel by a butt-end
starting. They trudged to the little village
and were put up there, and are still there.'
* Are you a smuggler ?' she exclaimed,
looking with vivid keenness into his face.
* I am Captain Jackman,' he answered,
bowing and laughing. ' No smuggler, but
no scorner of the trade. I went yesterday
to see those men, and think that I have
secured the services of five of the stoutest
' What ! for smuggling. Captain Jack-
' No, for a sweeter, swifter, and richer
pursuit, madam, which I would whisper in
your ear with feverish delight, sure of your
sympathy and approval, if this hand ' — he
took it — * were mine.'
She began to tremble. She was being
THE DINNER 87
made love to in reality. She was a little
frightened. Greatly she enjoyed the situa-
tion she had placed herself in, and said, with
her head hanging down —
* My father must know what we do.'
* You want me to consult with him about
our marriage ?'
* Oh, not so fast, Captain Jackman,' she
exclaimed, colouring with delight at his
' He will never give his consent,' he said.
* He doesn't like merchantmen. He hates
poor men, and so I do. He'll talk of our
three or four days of acquaintanceship, and
heap every objection he can find and create.'
' And then,' said the girl, speaking firmly,
with her face of beauty improved with an
expression of decision almost feverish in its
impulse, * there is a second road.' She
looked at him boldly.
* Why not take that second road at once ?'
he exclaimed softly, passing his arm through
hers ; and the love-sick girl let it lie there,
and cherished it.
' No, Captain Jackman *
88 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' Walter, then, we will be truthful and
above-board; you shall go and ask my
father's consent and answer his questions.
He may not refuse. That would be so
much better. For him now, and for memory
for us in after years.'
* I would do whatever you wish. I have
no queen but you,' answered Captain Jack-
man, who certainly was as much in love
with the girl as she with him.
' How long are you stopping in this
place V she asked.
* I am at your service,' he replied.
* Well,' said she, speaking rapidly, * we
must be seen together for some days. You
must call upon the commander and talk of
anything but me. Then come when I am
in the house by pre-arrangement, and the
matter can be dealt with. Meanwhile I
should like to know your reason for picking
* I have a scheme in my head,' he
* So I suppose,' she replied ; * and I
engage that it concerns your brig.'
' You are a witch, miss,' he exclaimed,
THE DINNER 89
smiling at her. * Of course, the knowing
that I am here seeking sailors did not put
that into your head.'
* I knew nothing about that until just
now,' she answered ; * but fancies rose in my
head when you talked of the brig whilst we
They approached, and stood at the broken
rail that fenced the stone.
* I hope you are not going below !' cried
Miss Conway, flashing her eyes with com-
mand upon him. * If you do, I protest I
will bolt you down and leave another to
release you. How many candles have you
' I am not going to enter those caverns,
believe me,' he answered. * At the same
time, I am wondering whether I could find
an abandoned cave along this cliff with an
outlet to the sea. There should be plenty.
T do not want to go east ; I mean to give the
Downs, with the shipping and the men-of-
war, a wide berth. Have you ever heard of
such a cave ?'
* Never. It may be found,' she answered.
* So you are going to turn smuggler ? I
90 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
could not marry a man whose body might
be hanging in air within a month of the
' I vow I am not going to turn smuggler.
I purpose something infinitely more noble
and more shining. I am a decayed gentle-
man, and a decayed gentleman must live.
They won't find me a berth ashore, so I
must go to sea, where I intend, in my brig,
in a week or ten days, or say three weeks, to
make a fortune.'
' Father can never object to that scheme,'
exclaimed the girl ; ' he admires commercial
adventures, and would greatly respect you
for loading your ship and sailing in search of
They continued to converse as they walked
in the direction of the commander's house.
Captain Jackman was mysterious, but his
looks were eloquent. Ada's eyes dredged
the captain's face for a hint, but got no idea.
Suddenly he paused, and said —
* Here we must part.'
* In view of my father's house ! Certainly
not. You will step in, Walter, and dine
THE DINNER 91
He seemed to shrink, with smiles full of
* Oh,' said she, lightly catching hold of
his cloak and bearing him towards the
cottage, * you are refusing a lady. I know
you have no other engagement. Pray step
in, and dine with us.'
Almost unconsciously the stouthearted,
manly, handsome Captain Jackman found
himself in the commander's garden, walking
towards the commander's house ; and now
there was the commander himself approach-
ing them from his back garden, wearing
carpet slippers and holding a broom, with
which he had been attending to his fowls.
' Oh, good morning. Captain Jackman,'
he shouted, as if he were hailing the mast-
head of a ship. * Those Devil's Walks of
ours seem to have exercised a pleasant
fascination over your mind.'
' What do you think, father ? Captain
Jackman was actually passing this house not
long ago without intending to call.'
* Captain Jackman's ideas of reserve may
be different from yours,' said the commander.
' Yes,' she cried quickly ; ' and after
92 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
luncheon I am going to show him about the
' The place ' was to be viewed, every
street and alley, in an hour, and Captain
Jackman had now been some three or four
days in these parts exploring. The com-
mander stared at the cool turn his daughter
gave to things, and muttering, ' Oh yes, sir ;
you'll stop to lunch, I hope, you'll stop to
lunch,' he shuffled out on his slippered feet
to put away his broom.
One afternoon, a week after Captain Jack-
man had lunched at Battle Lodge, as the
commander had tremendously named his
trifling villa, Miss Conway was pacing her
bedroom with impatient feet, slanting an eye,
eloquent of purpose that had waxed almost
into temper, over the old-fashioned, puckered
blinds which concealed the interior of the
room from the roadway leading to the town.
At this same hour, the commander, who
was red in the face from having sat beside
the fire, was musing over a letter in his
* What can he want ?' he thought, as he
strutted from the table to the window to and
fro. * Does he hope to borrow money ? I
have not a farthing to lend him, and should
94 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
at once insist upon returning his bracelet.
Is he seeking some situation here ? There
is nothing vacant down at the wharf, or
upon the coast, anyway, that I have heard
of, though I should be glad to oblige a man
who acted as he did towards my daughter in
a delicate and difficult situation. I would
oblige him, certainly, I have thanked him
merely. He, on the other hand, has given
us a noble bracelet and a magnificent dinner.'
The letter sank in his hand. The bigoted
old fool stared hard into the fire. These
wonderful old people, who believe in nothing
but the dead thing in the ships they've sailed
in, in the pap-bottle they sucked at, do not
seem able to see round the corner, where the
live thing absolute, and no nonsense about it,
is always coming.
The hall bell clanked, and presently the
servant admitted Captain Jackman. There
were the usual salutations.
' So you are still amusing yourself in these
parts,' said the commander. * Pray be seated,
' It answers my purpose to linger,' answered
Captain Jackman coolly.
THE PROPOSAL 95
A.nd the commander had to own that the
fellow looked uncommonly handsome, with
a gentleman-like character about his beauty,
which was promise of a good record.
' I thought,' said the commander, with a
harsh, uneasy laugh, * that you were here
only to inspect the Devil's Walk.'
* Surely, sir, my reasons for remaining here
need be known to myself only, I hope.'
* Quite so,' said the commander largely.
* But I intend,' continued Captain Jack-
man, ' to make you a sharer in the business
of my detention, by telling you that the
letter you hold is to ask you for the hand of
your daughter Ada.'
* No, sir, never !' shouted the commander.
* Softly, commander. You do not seem
to consider that we are truly in love, that
she is over age, and '
' And what, sir .?' bawled Commander
The captain smiled.
* Keep seated,' said the commander.
He seated himself by the fire, and now
the talk flowed.
* This is my only daughter, do you see,'
96 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
said the silver-headed old man. * I hope
you do not mean to take her from me.'
* Every girl needs a father at the start, and
a husband afterwards,' said Captain Jackman.
' This girl is too beautiful and noble in spirit
to be allov^^ed to languish on top of a cliff
within sight of a single scene of the sea.
Young women like pleasures — music, the
dance, the theatre, the opera — they do not
care for nothing but windmills and fishing-
boats ' He was proceeding.
* Hold, sir !' shouted the commander.
* What portion of all this glory could you
display to my daughter ?'
* I will take her off a cliff to start with,
commander, and anchor her close to the
sights which are worth seeing.'
'What are your means.? Can you
support my daughter without obliging me to
put my hand in my pocket ?'
* I shall not call upon you for a bad
sixpence,' answered Captain Jackman, with
a lofty toss of his head.
The commander stared hard at him, and
breathed short, then burst forth —
' But how do I know who you are .? You
THE PROPOSAL 97
get locked up in a cave with my daughter,
fall in love with her inside of a fortnight,
and propose for her hand. I am thunder-
struck. Marriage is a slow and solemn
thing — a contract that is not to be thundered
through as though a hurricane of need blew
astern of it. You have told us your parents
are dead, and I have no doubt, sir, from the
sample they have left in their offspring, that
they were in the highest degree respectable ;
but they were strangers. I never contem-
plated a marriage of this sort. You may
have relations my daughter may find
extremely degrading to her.'
* You should not talk thus without know-
ing,' said Captain Jackman, starting on his
chair, and looking very fiery and disdainful.
' It is not customary, I think, to sweep the
circle of the relations of a lady whose hand
we propose for, otherwise ' He coughed.
' What does that cough signify, sir ?'
* Mr. Fortt !'
The commander coloured, and looked
viciously at the captain, but made no reply ;
in fact, he had no reply to make ; for
Captain Jackman, in probing and prowling
98 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
about and asking questions, had got to hear
that Fortt, who was a retired dairyman and
a good-looking man with strong whiskers,
had married Conway's sister, and was Uving
with her in a handsome villa. The com-
mander was not, by this marriage, to be
driven from his guns. He stuck to his
home, but he never approached the Fortts'
house, nor had a word or a look for his
sister and her man if he met them. On the
other hand, Miss Conway regularly visited
her uncle and aunt, and occasionally made
excursions with them to a considerable
distance, such as Canterbury and London.
At this instant she entered. She leapt in
a graceful bound from the bottom step of the
short flight into the room, giving her body
as many swings, though always of a stately
sort, as you would expect to see in some
lively princess on her entrance.
' Why, Captain Jackman !' she cried with
well-assumed amazement at his presence, as
if she had not watched him coming, as if
she had not seen him turn the corner to
ring the hall bell, as if she had not heard, at
the head of the short staircase, the loud
THE PROPOSAL 99
conversation that had followed on his
admission. * This, our sailors here would
say, is a sight for sore eyes. We are bears
in a cage to you ; and you do not love
* I have come, madam,' said Captain Jack-
man, ' to speak to the commander on a
subject which must needs be of deep interest
to us both.'
* What is it ?' she cried, beginning to
heave her breast, and looking at her father.
* Captain Jackman's called to ask for your
hand in marriage,' said the commander.
' Well ?' said the girl.
' I cannot give my consent.'
* Why not .? Captain Jackman is a man of
as good degree as you. He is a gentleman
to the very heels of him, don't you know.
I love him ; and you ?}mst consent !'
' There is a mystery,' said Commander
Conway, clasping his gouty hands upon his
portly waistcoat, ' that troubles me, and
excites dislike. What was he doing in
the Devil's Walk ?'
' Curiosity, sir. I have answered that.
Curiosity took me there.'
lOO A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' It is not satisfactory to me that the
captain should have been dismissed his ship
for having been innocently robbed of fifteen
* I would advise you to say no more in
respect of that/ said the captain, stepping so
as to confront Commander Conway. ' I am
a man to force you to apologise for your
infamous insinuation by carrying you to
London, and compelling you to face the
* I wish you to say nothing more about
it,' exclaimed the commander, with an angry
motion of his arm, the fist of which looked
to be locked. * What I want you both to
understand is, I cannot approve of, and
therefore cannot sanction, the marriage of
my daughter to a stranger who had no
existence to us a few days ago ; who has
not explained how he is to support his wife
when he marries her — whether he intends
to go to sea and carry his wife with him, or
leave her ashore. If ashore, what sort of
home can his means affbrd her ? For, sir,'
he said, looking up at the captain, who still
stood in front of him, * we know that a
THE PROPOSAL loi
master in the merchant service is not paid
wages which a wise sailor would dream ol
getting married on. And at present you
have no ship, no employ, no more prob-
abilities of work than other people walking
about the docks — all excepting a brig,
upon which heirloom I make you my
compliments.' And he bowed with a
' There is not the slightest use,' Captain
Jackman replied, ' in answering your ques-
tions, unless you intend to give us your
Ada, fast breathing, eyes glittering,
nostrils swelling, stepped round and stood
beside her man — a handsome pair.
* You may depend upon it,' continued the
captain, * that if I marry this lady, I shall
not trouble you ; on the contrary, I think it
more likely that you will trouble me.'
' What do you mean, sir ?' shouted the
' I have a golden scheme, and it will
come off,' said Captain Jackman, with a
singular smile lighting up his face.
The commander was silent for at least a
I02 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
minute. A minute is a long time of silence
on an occasion of this sort. During the
pause he eyed Jackman with a gaze of
corkscrews and screwdrivers.
* I see how it is, father,' said Miss
Conway, in a voice of bitter contempt, and
with a manner daringly defiant. ' You
mean to keep me at home all my life — or
your life, which may be long, for you take
good care of yourself You mean that I
should become a wrinkled old maid, without
hopes of a husband, without a chance of
getting away from this sickeningly dull hole,
merely because it suits you, and it is con-
venient to you to keep me at home as a
companion. You do not love to be alone.
I would bear you company willingly,' she
cried, with enlarged nostril, ' to your grave,
though it should make me sixty years of
age, if it were not for your selfishness.'
* Sir,' said the commander, ' you perceive
what sort of a young lady you wish to clasp
to your heart as a life partner.'
* Have I your consent to our marriage,'
answered the tall, handsome Jackman, look-
ing down at Commander Conway with a
THE PROPOSAL 103
barely visible curve of contempt at either
corner of his mouth.
* He would deny me a sight of life,'
shrieked the girl almost hysterically. ' I
am to gaze, by his command, on nothing
but the ocean. We go nowhere. I take
lonely walks. You saw me on one of those
lonely walks. Captain Jackman, and I am
thankful to remember that I saved your life.
My father is selfish, and does not enter into
the feelings of the young. He has lived,
and we too must live and see life. This
gentleman loves me,' she said, laying her
hand with fine grace upon the captain's
shoulder, and looking at her father with an
expression of desperation in her beauty, * and
I love him, and we shall be married.'
The commander, not perhaps relishing
the being seated whilst these two continued
to tower over him, sprang up and stepped
across to the other side of the table.
* You'll not marry with my consent,' he
exclaimed, * until I learn more of this
gentleman's antecedents, connections, career.
I don't want certificates of conduct,' he
added with an arch sneer. * I want to
I04 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
know is this man who has made a bid for
my family a gentleman ? Next let me be
satisfied as to the ways and means of this
business. He is flinging his money gener-
ously about down here ; he should have
plenty. Will you not tell me how much
you have ?'
* I have told you that I'm a poor man ;
but that I have an occupation, and meanwhile
a brilliant scheme.'
* Submit it,' shouted the commander.
Captain Jackman shook his head slowly.
* And you think I'm going to sanction
your marrying my daughter — to such a man
as you ? What is your mystery ? You
shall hire the Devil's Walk, and spend a
little money on decorating it, and support
my daughter on the sixpences you take.'
The commander laughed harshly. ' There
is no room in this house, I beg to assure
you, for two families ; and that being so,
and as you decline to give me any satisfaction
as to your antecedents, and your capability
of supporting a wife, I absolutely decline to
sanction your marriage.'
Saying which he gave Captain Jackman a
THE PROPOSAL 105
stiff bow, left the room, and marched very
creakily upstairs. The lovers looked at each
other in silence, and then the captain kissed
the girl's forehead. Tears v^ere in her
* There is the other way,' said he, in a
soft voice. ' Unnatural thoughts should be
opposed by unnatural deeds. I am a gentle-
man — as much so as he. He knows it. He
is prejudiced. He does not like my being
fallen in with in that cave. He does not
like the idea of having a master in the
merchant service for a son-in-law. Ada,'
he whispered, ' he will never consent, but
there is the other way.' He made a move-
ment so as to leave the house.
* You have said nothing about our future
arrangements,' she cried.
' Everything now depends upon you,' he
answered, very softly. ' There is the other
way, my dearest,' he again whispered with
great significance, and a look that beamed
* Stay, I will put on my hat and walk into
the town with you. We can arrange at our
hearts' will as we go.'
io6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
Commander Conway stood at his window
overlooking the road, and witnessed this
couple's departure. He was deeply incensed.
But, like all fathers thus placed with an
active, determined daughter who would
marry a bagman sooner than remain un-
wedded, all that he could do was to gesticu-
late, and all that he could say was, no^ with
the emphasis of the rolling sea, and then sit
down upon that * no ' and await the conse-
quences of his heart-breaking command.
He saw old Mr. Leaddropper, a retired
pilot of the Trinity House, a man with very
arched legs, and a full August moon of face,
and long shoes with buckles. This man
pulled off his round hat to Miss Conway as
they passed, and called out —
* Is father at home, missie ?'
' Ay, you'll find him at home,' answered
Old Leaddropper made several turns with
his head after he had got the couple astern,
in order to view Captain Jackman. He had
heard of this gentleman from his great friend
Captain Burgoyne, an old East Indiaman,
but had not seen him. Meanwhile Com-
THE PROPOSAL 107
mander Conway at his bedroom window saw
Leaddropper coming, and watched with
mingled emotions the frequent looks the
bow-legged pilot cast behind him.
* How do you do, Conway ?' said Lead-
dropper, entering the house, as the com-
mander descended the stairs. * Fine gal that
of yours !'
He walked into the dining-room. The
commander followed him.
* Oh, that I was the man I looked, and
felt, when the last century was eighty !' He
' You were not just hatched even at that,'
said the commander, walking up and down
the little room. * What's the news ?'
' For my part I've got not a stroke,' said
the old pilot, blandly following with motions
of his blood-stained eyes the movements of
the commander, as he placed a decanter of
rum upon the table, together with a jug of
water and tumblers taken from the sideboard.
' Help yourself,' said the commander.
The pilot did so. The commander took
a drop, lighted his pipe, and the pilot drank
io8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* Not a stroke of news,' continued old
Leaddropper. ' But stay ! Blamed if there
isn't a talk of some one going about working
up a crew out of our little town.'
* That'll be Jackman,' said the com-
mander. * Certain. What can he want a
crew for, and why is he found in the Devil's
' Was that the man that I saw your
daughter walking with just now ?' inquired
The commander let fall a surly nod.
* If so, he's a precious good-looking young
man, with that sort of eye which tells of a
right heart, so I think. His behaviour to
your daughter in them vaults that night was
that of a gentleman.'
' Have you come up at anybody's urgent
request to do a bit of special pleading with
me, Leaddropper ?' exclaimed the com-
mander, looking a little darkly upon his
* What do you mean .?'
' I suppose you know,' said the com-
mander, ' that that gentleman, who styles
himself Captain Jackman, wants to obtain
THE PROPOSAL 109
my sanction to his marriage to my
* How should I know ?' said the pilot,
draining his glass, and looking at the
decanter. ' But if it be as you say, where's
the harm ? What's the objection ? If your
gal were mine I should reckon her lucky to
get into tow with one of the handsomest
gentlemen I ever clapped my eyes on.'
* Blast the handsomest gentleman ! How
can a man support a wife on his looks ?
This handsome gentleman has nothing
saving apparently some loose gold ' — and
here he spoke with a curious intonation —
' which he is glad to sling about him in this
quiet spot, at the rate of forty-five pounds a
go. Stay !' he added, confused by his own
meanness. * He has a brig, but without
capital, without a crew, without evidently
any disposition to make use of the brig.
How shall she count in his list of effects ?'
* Young people must have a chance,' said
the pilot. * Parents are always for opposing
as they were opposed ; but the fakes come
out of the coil all the same, and there's no
singing out of " avast !" to the sculler whose
no A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
boat has got the end of the rope. How's
your gal, your very fine gal, going to get
married down here ? Who's to admire her ?
Who's to see her ? Naturally, when one
comes along who has eyes, he desires her,
Conway ; and so should I, my friend, if I
could slide my life back thirty year.'
* What have you heard about this collect-
ing of men for a crew ?' asked the com-
mander. ' Is there some reference to his
brig in this job ? But why should he come
down all these leagues from London for
men ? What's being said about my daughter ?'
' Nothing that's reached my ears. Nothing
that could annoy ye, anyway,' said the old
pilot. ' I did hear that they were likely to
be engaged because of their being locked up
all night under the earth alone. Some
fathers would feel a little sensitive on this
matter. You don't seem to have taken it to
heart, commander ;' and the pilot flourished
his glass at his mouth, and put it down with
a gesture eloquent of * no more.'
* Am I to be told,' cried the commander,
whisking round upon the pilot, and taking
aim at him with the stem of his pipe, ' that
THE PROPOSAL iii
every one who saves the life of another must
marry 'em ? Why, the penalty might be
regarded as so violent there'd be no life-
saving at all. A young man on the sea-shore
would say, " I see a girl drowning ; never do
to save her ; most indelicate for her to be
seen lying in my arms in her bathing-gown !"
Nothing but marriage could rescue the lady
from the very compromising situation the
gentleman, by saving her life, had placed
Whilst these two old sailors were con-
versing in the little square cottage on the
top of the tall cliffs. Captain Jackman and
Ada Conway were slowly making their way
towards the town. The flash of the sea far
down, the guns of the sea low down, the
white lightning of the gulls' flight went with
them ; and with them rode a pleasant pano-
rama of shipping ; a line-of-battle ship was
making her way up Channel ; she hung
sullen, and tossed with massive plunge,
heaving about her the foam of a dozen
breaking seas ; a smart little schooner, with
masts like fishing-rods, sitting low and almost
112 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
level, save where her bow struck for domina-
tion in an abrupt leap of sheer, was cutting
through her own yeast ; others were glorious
with the light and the life, and all that the
ocean has of beauty to confer upon the
fabrics which sail upon it and trust it ; but
none of these things did the lovers take
Probably Jackman had had enough of the
sea and its pictures, and nothing short of a
whirlpool or a lightning-clothed disaster, full
of foam and rolling peals, was likely to court
Miss Conway's eye to that wide blue flashing
* Ada,' said Jackman, ' your father will
not give his consent. That's as certain
to me as that it is I that am talking to
' Why will not he give me my way ?' she
cried. * It's hard to have to take it — to leave
an old father. Yet he binds me to him by
nothing ; we see little or nothing of each
other. I am a convenience as mistress of
his house. But I am not mistress, and
every day makes me feel the want of inde-
THE PROPOSAL 113
* Will you trust yourself with me in the
little parlour of the " Faithful Heart " ?'
said the captain, after a short pause. * I
have a project I want to talk to you
' After the Devil's Walk !' she cried, with
spirit. * After that, Walter, I think I should
be able to trust you anywhere.'
* Come to the little inn !'
They walked down the broad, steep street,
speaking little. Those who knew Miss
Conway bowed with arch looks. Not often
was a marriage celebrated in that steep little
town. A good-looking young man straying
into the place was viewed rather with
astonishment than with desire. And if
ever the desire came it was promptly ended
by the good-looking young man's disappear-
Here now was undoubtedly a good-look-
ing couple, unquestionably engaged to be
married ; and friends bowed archly, and
others stared. They arrived at the * Faith-
ful Heart' and entered. Captain Jackman
conducted the young lady upstairs to the
little parlour in which she had played the
114 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
spinet that night the three had dined to-
gether. The captain was advancing to grasp
' What do you want ?' said Ada.
' Some refreshments for you.*
* Nothing, absolutely. Leave that bell
alone, be as swift as possible, come and sit
here on this sofa beside me, and tell me your
secret — the secret, I presume, on which we
are to get married — that is to say, on which
we are to run away, as I too certainly feel
it must come to.'
She spoke in hard words, but in a love-
sweetened voice, and extended her hand to
bring him to her. He kissed her brow
as though she was a saint and he adored
' To start with, Ada, I am going to tell
you what I never intended to hint at until
we were man and wife, when our lives and
interests should be identical. But your
father's stubbornness must determine us, we
must elope. Now, before we do that, it is
my duty to reveal myself in full. I have
called myself a gentleman, Ada ; to you I
shall endeavour to prove myself one.'
THE PROPOSAL 115
' I need no further proofs,' she answered,
looking at him with a smile. ' What is this
scheme, dear, which is to prove so golden,
and which is to win my father's congratula-
The captain laughed.
' I doubt,' he answered, ' if he is of
the so sweet, so delighted, I am sure, type of
' The scheme !' said the girl earnestly.
* Ada, I must tell you here now what I
have sometimes told you before. I am poor
— a poor sailor, a stone-broke seaman with a
hatred of his calling. I have been dismissed
from my ship for a theft, and I look upon
myself as lost. No firms owning such vessels
as my dignity would suffer me to command
would employ me. I am utterly poor — and
thirty, and must make my fortune by a coup
or end my existence.'
' You need not talk like that.'
* The comfortable grave is better than
destitution, better than the cold winter's
night and the thrust of the night-watch.'
* Your scheme, dear !'
' You have heard me speak of the little
ii6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
vessel that is lying in the East Lidia Docks.
You also know that I have been engaged
whilst here in adding to the crew I desire to
collect for her.'
* You mean to go to sea in that ship ?' she
* Certainly, and shortly, and on what
errand do you suppose, Ada ? I mean to be
a gentleman,' he continued, smiling with a
rather hard expression, * and I am determined
to carry that calling handsomely. Now,
listen, my love. Frequently from Lisbon
and Cadiz the Spanish and Portuguese
merchants are shipping heavy consignments
in gold to the Spice and other Islands. I
can ascertain the sailing of those ships, and
gather their lading.'
The girl began to eye him with a crooked
brow, yet with sparkling eyes.
* There is a fortune floating for a man in
any one of those craft, and it is my idea,
nay, it is my intention, to gut some stately
galloon of her precious metal, and retire
ashore upon it, living as a fine gentleman
with you, Ada.'
' If they catch you, you'll be hanged,' said
THE PROPOSAL 117
the girl, bending her dark brows at him.
' For what you propose to attempt is piracy,
and the pirate is one of those dangling figures
which revolve in irons, and strike horror into
' I am aware that they hang pirates. I
am also aware,' said Captain Jackman, * that
I must either make my fortune or end my
life. I choose the former. It can be done,
and easily done, in spite, dearest, of your
beautiful staring face of wonder. I intend to
equip my brig with certain artillery, which
shall lie hidden until we get to sea. We
bend sail and reeve all gear in dock, and
blow out quietly with a few of the hands.
As we sail down the Channel, we touch and
pick up portions of the crew which I have
engaged or which remain to be engaged. I
am now in possession of one of the smartest
and fastest brigs afloat, newly coppered to
the bends, liberally armed, with boats at her
davits and the spare rig of a brigantine upon
the booms, which I have contrived by an
arrangement of the maintop.'
' And you mean to go to sea in this
vessel to plunder ships ?* said Ada.
ii8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* Yes. Are you shocked ?' he exclaimed
* Not even if you had resolved to become
a smuggler — something surely low^er than a
* I shall be a pirate for a few days only,'
said he, laughing. * Gentlemen have taken
to the road and lived very handsomely upon
the purses they have collected. Why should
not a gentleman take to the sea, gather
together by a like sort of collection from
various trading ships such a sum as he
might suppose would suffice his wants, and
sail away — either home or abroad, according
to the needs of his safety ?'
* It is quite true,' said the girl, whose
surprise was fast fading out of her striking
face, and who looked with the eyes of love
at the captain as he talked, * that gentlemen
have taken to the road for a living. One
got hanged. He had been a squire in
Warwickshire. I have heard my father
speak of a man who lived as a gentleman
— who, indeed, was so ; he was discovered
to have supported his family of a wife and
one or two children by going out upon the
THE PROPOSAL 119
highway with a brace of pistols and a mask.
He would have been taken ; but whilst they
were thundering at his door he fell dead of
heart disease, through excitement, grief, and
She allowed her eyes to linger upon his
whilst she pronounced these closing words.
* All the chances will be upon our side,'
said he, speaking with boyish delight, since
he seemed to find a sympathy kindling in
the girl with his scheme. ' The only risks
I run will be from my own men. I believe
I shall be easily able to overcome that
* You will have to confess your business
to them,' she said.
* Certainly,' he answered. * But none yet
suspect it. A tall merchant ship unarmed,
well laden with goods of which I shall have
received notice, sails very stately out of the
port, say, of Lisbon. She has a barrel or two
of money in her lazarette for the planters of
the Portuguese settlements. She has forty
men before the mast, and twenty in officers
and idlers abaft it. Presently a white gleam
is seen by the light of the moon. No notice
I20 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
is taken. Why should notice be taken ?
There are no pirates in those western seas
so close aboard the coast. I wear, or tack
ship, run my brig alongside, and board her,
whilst half her people are asleep below.'
Ada smiled whilst she listened to her
lover's repetition of the fantastic sketch she
herself had drawn at her father's breakfast-
* We batten everybody down, leaving one
to liberate the people after, then search for
our needs, send the booty over the side into
the brig, and sail away, Ada — and sail away,
my love, a rich, unknown ship. What can
they call us .? How can the terrified dagos
describe us t A British crew won't stop for
an enemy to look. She is a brig. They
will know that ; but should she leave port
again, she will be a brigantine. What
could they report .? And what do you think
of my scheme V
' It is bold, possible, and dishonourable,'
she said, with a subtle note of triumph in
her voice, and the same high, encouraging
colour of sympathy in her face.
* It is not dishonourable,' said he calmly,
THE PROPOSAL 121
* for an Englishman to rob a foreigner upon
the seas where the EngUshman has himself
been most atrociously looted by most of the
nations you can name. I must live by a
dishonourable income or die by my own
He made a step to her, and taking her
cheeks, gently lifted her face to his, and
* My life is now in your hands. I have
confessed all to the woman I love, have ever
loved, shall ever love. Knowing my scheme,
Ada, will you be my wife ?'
There was no hesitation in her answer.
How could she resist his pleading presence,
his manly candour with her, the love that
lighted his eyes, the love that was now
the single impulse of her life ? Worthier
women for more worthless men have con-
sented to go to the devil.
He kissed and released her face, and said,
as he stepped from her —
* I shall be a proud man when I have you
by my side. We ought to get married soon,
Ada. Will you leave it to me to make all
122 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
the arrangements, writing under cover to you
at this Httle inn ?'
' Yes,' she answered. * Father will never
consent. Only think if he should get to
hear ' She stopped herself.
The captain laughed. * I must be off to
the west,' said he, * in a day or two, in
search of suitable vaults and a temporary
home for you.'
The girl arched her black eyebrows, and
her lips fixed themselves in an expression of
' I must,' he continued, * discover if there
are any smugglers' vaults on the Cornwall
coast. I want to get as near to the Land's
End as possible. You, without suspicion,
can make inquiries amongst the men on the
wharf and elsewhere.'
* Will you return for the news I re-
* You must write ' And he wrote an
address on the fly-leaf of a pocket-book
which he gave to her. * That till next
Then, after making arrangements for his
writing to her from London, whither he
THE PROPOSAL 123
would have to repair for the further equip-
ment of his little ship when he had done
his business down west, he took her in his
arms, kissed her, and conducted her from
At the date of this story, remote as it is, the
East India Docks were much as they now
are, saving in certain non-essential points,
such as the funnel. Dismount the funnel of
to-day, and leave the pole-mast schooner
rigged with its derrick, and old men of that
age, stumbling with flapping skirts and
breast-wide hats, would scarcely witness a
On a certain day, when, strange to relate,
it was fine weather over the Isle of Dogs, a
great plenty of tall and stately ships lay in
these East India Docks. Some were loaded
deep, and ready for the voyage, fresh with
paint, and sparkling with the glory of glitter-
ing gilt and radiant counters. Some had
but recently hauled in, and showed signs of
BUGSBY'S HOLE 125
bitter conflict with the ocean ; the red stain
drained from the bolt, the bolt was twisted,
a length of bulwark was stove.
Up in a corner, inside a fine West India-
man, lay Captain Jackman's brig, about
which we have already heard a great deal.
His father had owned her, and when young
had sailed her, and in his time had made
money out of her. He bequeathed the
little ship to his son Walter, praying that
he would take good care of her, as she
inherited several fine traditions, was the
noblest sailer of all vessels so rigged that
ever he had known, and was a magnificent
They were painting her black this day ;
the parts the painters over the side were
covering showed of a dirty white. They
were likewise sending her yards aloft, and
Captain Jackman, as he came along, could
not fail to admire the exquisite precision
with which the two masts were stayed. He
saw speed in their gentle devoir to the bow ;
he stopped a minute to watch the painters,
and to observe the man who was gilding the
small figure-head under the long bowsprit
126 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
over-laid by the jibbooms. He then went
A man dressed in the style of a master-
rigger touched his cap on Jackman's enter-
ing. A number of hands were in motion
about the decks ; the little ship was full of
business, there had evidently come some
' Well, Tomson,' said Jackman to the man
who had touched his cap, ' how are you
getting on .?'
* Smartly, sir. Your ship shall be ready
for you by your date.'
* Can you contrive to convert that main-
top into a schooner rig on emergency ?'
* It can be done, sir.'
As the man spoke these words a messenger
came over the gangway and handed the
captain a letter. He looked at it, slightly
changed colour, and walked right aft, where
he was alone. . The missive, dated from
Commander Conway's house, ran thus —
' My dearest Walter,
* I hasten to communicate what I
hope will prove a useful piece of intelligence
BUGSBY'S HOLE 127
to you. I have been busily making inquiries
about disused smugglers' caves down west,
with this result. A sailor named Butler
came to me yesterday and said he could
produce a man, a rather old man, who could
furnish information of a curious cave striking
from the roof of the cliff to the wash of the
sea. It had not been used since 1 807, but
you can still at ebb walk from the lower
orifice on to the beach, and from the next to
the lower orifice you can use a boat whilst
the tide is making. I will give you the
name and address of the owner on your pass-
ing through here, as that you must do, for it
is my particular desire to see you.
* How far has been your advance in this
tremendous business t Prav do not be com-
municative to strangers. Are not you apt to
be a little candid, and to forget that you
were so .? The sailor is a character of perfect
sensibility, and he has to carefully guard
himself against the worldly people he meets
ashore — people who will wring his business
out of him, and then, if they can make no
use of it, fling it to the dogs. Oh, I quite
forgot to say in its place that with these
128 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
subterranean stairs to the sea is associated
a little house that stands dose to the main
entrance, and you can enter it by a man-
hole in the house itself. This might prove
' The district is very desolate, the old man
told me — a livid, gale-swept moor with no
habitation within a good drive. Revenue
people, I am informed, are occasionally seen
on that part of the coast, but at such long
intervals that they might as well be viewed
as strange objects of interest. The revenue
cutter may also be seen plying off the land ;
but her business would seem to be far higher
* I am never weary of admiring your
glorious gift. Oh, how beautifully it sparkles
by candlelight ! My father's mood is as
stern and unbending as ever. I believe he
would strike me if I even referred to you.
I heard Captain Burgoyne asking, in his
coarse way, which the commander relishes,
" Don't you want your wench to get married
at all, Conway ? Suppose you pop off on a
sudden — and I may tell you Fve long viewed
with anxiety that stout throat and immense
BUGSBY'S HOLE 129
chest of yours — what is your girl to do ?
She is unmated. Who is to look after her ?
And she is pre-eminently one of those young
parties who need looking after."
* I was listening greedily halfway up the
stairs, down which I was coming at the
moment of arrest, dressed for a visit. My
father answered, ** I am not going to have
for a son-in-law a man who may end his
career at the gibbet within the next month."
" Chaw ! you dined with him. He was an
honourable gentleman then." My father
began to bluster. Here stupid Mrs. Dove
came creaking downstairs, and called to me
to go into the hall and turn that she might
* All the same I managed to catch a frag-
ment of Captain Burgoyne's remark. " He
is good-looking. He is qualified to command
a ship. He can handle a ship when he
pleases." " No," thundered the commander
— and as I passed through the hall door,
after giving Mrs. Dove a nod — *' Are you,"
shouted my father, " going to be satisfied
with his cool statement of that large loss of
I30 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* I could not linger, as Mrs. Dove was
watching me with affectionate interest from
the staircase, and so I left the house. Nothing
that my father can say can affect my love.
I am dying to be your wife, and you will
find me ready at the first signal you hoist.
Wherever you are I am, in spirit and devo-
She concluded in terms of fervent affec-
The captain kissed the letter, and read it
twice, and whilst he was putting it in his
pocket with the care of a document worth
thousands, he was hailed from the quay
* How d'ye, Jackman V
He looked over and saw a middle-aged
man dressed in the pilot cloth of the master's
* How are you, Phillips ?'
* Any good news for me in that letter
you've just now pocketed ?'
Jackman made no reply.
* Got a ship yet ?'
The other flourished ::his hand over his
BUGSBY'S HOLE 131
* Ah, but that's the monkey eating his
own tail.' After a pause — * Has any further
news,' cried the captain on the quay, ' been
heard of the money you were robbed of ?'
' It's long ago washed down fifteen
hundred throats, and purchased enjoyment
of fifteen hundred hideous revelries,' answered
Jackman, nodding and smiling ; and saying
this, he passed forward, and the captain
ashore walked on, with a single turn of his
head to gaze at the ship, as if considering
Jackman's business in fitting her out and how
much the job cost.
Jackman was a master in expression of
face ; had he combined the other necessary
qualities he would have been the greatest
actor of his day, and risen to the large
reputation of Mr. Kemble or Mr. Kean.
Nobody but must have imagined that he was
vastly tickled by the inquiries about the
stolen money sung up by the captain on the
quay. His face, having recovered from its
smile, wore its ordinary placid and even
sweet expression, and with that face upon
him he conversed about the affairs of the
brig with the man who had touched his hat
132 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
to him on his entering the vessel. He did
not carry the dramatic airs of the sailor ;
that generation of seamen were leaving those
airs for the American hoasters to import.
He looked a thorough gentleman, dressed
indeed with some reference to his vocation,
but as one who does not love to represent
himself a sailor by his clothes.
He roamed a little while about his brig,
and spoke a friendly word here and there to
some of the men.
This brig would be laughed at in this age
as a heavy old waggon, and so she showed
as she sat upon the water, because of her
very square stern, her breadth of beam, and
the very preposterous steeve which they gave
to their bowsprits in the beginning of this
age. Yet, carrying lofty masts, and being
very square-rigged, she did not show as the
stumpy bulk which she looked when you
gazed forward from her taffrail. Her lines
at her cutwater, running well aft, might
have been laid in Aberdeen, and, though
she was plump aft, they had given her a lift
of counter which raised her after-part clear
of that drawing roll of sea, which plump
BUGSBY'S HOLE 133
ships of this sort are in the habit of dragging
with them. On deck she was simply
equipped as a trading brig should be. She
had a little green caboose for cooking the
men's dinner in ; a forecastle under deck,
with a square hole to enter by, painted casks
for liquor and meat ; skylights aft, and a
plain companion conducting to the cabin.
Such was the brig Gypsy, 180 tons, Jack-
man commander, bequeathed to him by his
father, who had also received her as a bequest
from his father.
He lingered on board the greater part
of the day, superintending the business of
fitting out, but in a furtive sort of way,
almost noticeable to any one with sharp
sight, as though, in fact, he did not belong
to the brig. He went ashore at five o'clock,
walking slowly, and carefully reading his
A journey by coach to anywhere, in the
time of this book, was an achievement more
or less significant. Men made their wills
before their departure. They were in the
right. What are the risks of the rail as
compared with the risks of the road ? You
134 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
have the collision. In the good old times
you had the masked highwayman with the
loaded pistols, and the horrible threat ; you
had the deep ditch into which the great
lumbering coach, in some transport of
downhill manoeuvring, was overset. You
had lanes of mud, in which all got out and
shoved ; you had the dangers of long
exposure to the air, so that when you
finally arrived you were nearly dead with
some affection of the chest.
Some hundreds of miles away from
London, measurable now in a day by
steam, in those times in about a week,
stood a little village of the hard Cornwall
grey stone that makes Penzance, in spite
of its architecture, picturesque. The village
was on the coast, distant about two miles
from the sea, and was pretty with many
little gardens, and remarkable in its air of
genial originality ; as though, having grown
so far afield, it had borrowed its prejudices
nowhere. A village inn fronted the high
road. It swung the sign of * Nelson.' Nelson
was still much in the public mind in those
days. A stoutly built fellow in a lazy,
BUGSBY'S HOLE 135
lounging walk, came to the door, and,
looking up the road, said to some one
* What makes the coach late ?'
* They time themselves out o' greediness,
and can't keep their word !' exclaimed a
Now, as this was said, a noise of distant
thunder was heard, and lo ! the coach, at
hard gallop, turned the corner, the guard
bugling, and the foam flaking from the
horses' mouths. It rattled up, with all the
fine effect of those glistening, grandly
handled vehicles, to the door of the
* Nelson,' and stopped, the horses blowing
smoke, and one white female face, prim
in a Quaker's bonnet, staring through an
There was a single traveller on top of
the coach. He had his cloak rolled well
around him, and descended with the move-
ments of a half-frozen man. He asked for
something to eat and drink, and was shown
into a parlour where, with as little loss of
time as possible, they served him handsomely
with chops and potatoes and excellent beer.
136 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
He then produced a pipe, and sat with his
feet to the fire. On the entrance of the
landlord to remove the dishes, Captain
Jackman said languidly —
' Can I have a bed in your house ?'
* Yes, sir.'
' I am here to visit a man named
Thomas Bruton. Do you know him ?'
* Well, I've known Tom half my life.'
* Do you think he would come across
and talk with me on a business matter
I have in mind ?'
* I'll fetch him for you now, sir. If
he's out, he can't be far oif. He lives
but five doors down.'
The landlord went out with a load of
plates and dishes, and Captain Jackman sat
musing in front of the fire, of whose warmth
and comfort he was greatly in need. After
a short absence the landlord returned, ac-
companied by a man whose extremely ugly
face discovered many marks of astonishment.
He bobbed from side to side to catch a view
of the gentleman who wanted him. He
wore a little grey wig, and was deeply pitted
with small-pox ; he was blind of one eye,
BUGSBY'S HOLE 137
and the other looked into his nose, so that
it amazed those he conversed with that he
' Is it Thomas Bruton that you want,
gentleman ?' said the man, stepping round
the table to the side of the captain and
staring at him.
' Are you he ?' answered Jackman, rising
* Ay, and not ashamed of it,' responded
the fellow, whose appearance was decidedly
' I want ten minutes' talk with you ; sit
down. Landlord, fetch this gentleman a
pint of ale, and kindly leave us.'
This was done. Bruton continued to run
his malevolent eye with amazement all over
the captain, who resumed his seat.
' I understand,' began Captain Jackman,
' that you are the proprietor of a little
property, some twelve or fifteen miles down
the coast here, called Bugsby's Hole.'
* They're right who says so,' answered the
man, sitting squarely before his liquor.
' You want to sell it ?'
* To him as '11 buy, yes.'
138 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' First, what's your price ?'
* Sixty pound cash down. I've Hved
in that house myself, and can warrant
* I'll give you that money for it, if the
house and the neighbourhood and the cave
suit me,' said Jackman.
* You want the cave too !' said the man,
with an ugly expressive grin.
' I buy the house because I may require
* Well,' said the man after a little reflec-
tion, * ye shall have the cave in. First class
of their sort they are ; but they never would
ha' been included if ye hadn't offered for the
house outright, nor would I ha' been willin'
to let the house on any terms.'
* So I had gathered, and was prepared
for. Ask no questions,' said the captain,
* and I'll ask none. When can I view the
Bruton pulled out a heavy gold watch.
* Not to-day !' exclaimed the captain, * I
am dog-tired. Can you procure a vehicle
so that we may start to-morrow at about ten
BUGSBY'S HOLE 139
' Right, sir !' said the man with a great
manner of cheerfulness.
At the hour named Bruton drove up to
the * Nelson Inn ' in a light cart drawn by a
small strong horse, and Captain Jackman got
in. A little crowd had collected to witness
their going. A stranger was the rarest of
coast gulls in those parts. His face, his
apparel, his bearing, suggested a distant place
and another sort of civilization. Bruton
flicked his horse, and they started down a
pebbly roaring road. There was no talk-
ing. They went over ruts and ridges pre-
sently at a rate of about ten miles an
hour, and the captain was flung over
Bruton's knee, and still there was no
At last they came to a level plain of moor,
sallow, discoloured, desolate as the edge of
coast and rim of sea that was now sweeping
round to their progress so as to meet them.
Then the captain could make Bruton hear
* Do you ever use your house for the
running of goods ?'
' Who are you that I should report
I40 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
myself?' And the squint turned fiercely
* Oh, I can be candid with such as you,'
exclaimed the captain, with a loud laugh.
' Tou don't peach. You have secrets which
keep you men of honour. See here, now.'
He laid his hand upon Bruton's shoulder,
and said, * I am pirate and smuggler !'
* Where have you been running ?'
* Ye h'ant got the looks of one of us.'
* I am a gentleman,' exclaimed Jackman
warmly, * with as determined a resolution to
make a fortune as others have. The sea
promises a good yield. You must have done
well out of her to live without work at your
time of life.'
' The ocean's paid me well. Fm bound
to say that,' said Mr. Bruton, relaxing.
* And since you're so free, so'll I be. The
cottage and the cave Fm a-driving you to,
and which'll soon heave in sight, was used
by me and my missis and the children as a
dwelling-house and a storeroom for the
choicest of the run goods, the rest being
stowed in secret places, or in the steps.'
BUGSBY'S HOLE 141
' The steps,' echoed the captain.
' Ay, you can step down to the foam of
the water. It's a low front of chff here-
* Were you successful in your hidings ?'
* To tell you the truth,' the man an-
swered in a grumbling note of laughter,
* we were so rarely troubled that I believe
we came off with nigh everything we got
* Piracy is a dangerous trade,' said Cap-
tain Jackman, talking to this man as if he
was a brother pirate. *My ship is not to be
seen once too often in that market, and
newly rigged and freshly painted, she may
complete the sum of money I want, and
which as a gentleman I cannot possibly live
without, if we rig her afresh and paint her a
Bruton turned his squint eye upon his
companion. He scarcely knew what to
think of him. ' Where's your gang V said
* I have men fit to board and capture a
line-of-battle ship,' was the answer.
Bruton pointed dumbly ahead with his
142 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
whip ; and Jackman saw a little cottage upon
the horizon, the most melancholy picture in
the world under the grey sky, and set to the
music of the wind that was now coming a
little wildly off that opening eye of sea on
their left. They drove rapidly, and drew up
at the cottage door. It was a strong house,
fit for a powder-magazine, built of Cornish
flag, put together with a heedlessness of
aspect that lent it beauty of the roughest
It had several little windows on either
side, a fair piece of ground plotted out at
the back, a small front garden, and was
certainly a dead broke bargain with its
stairs, even for moral living, at the money
Bruton made his horse fast, pulled out a
key, and they entered his singular, very
much detached house. It was dusty and
grimy, and showed a great plenty of beer
stains, and rum stains, and perhaps blood
stains. It was naked to the windows of
furniture. It stood waiting for the hurricanes
of that iron coast to beat it down and lay its
spirit to soil.
BUGSBY'S HOLE 143
' This will do,' said Jackman, after looking
over the house. ' Show me your stairs,
But first Mr. Bruton exposed a number of
secret hiding-places in the house itself, the
sight of which greatly delighted Captain
Jackman. They were perfect, he thought,
as places of concealment. They next went
to the stairs. These were entered from
without. They had no trap or cover.
* What's the good of a hatch ?' said
Mr. Bruton, descending.
The sea-flash in the base gave them light,
and the light behind followed them. Mr.
Bruton pointed to one or two avenues in
which he said Captain Jackman and his
hearties would find hiding-places — none
more perfect along the coast, all open now,
and so discoverable, being no longer needed.
They stood on a step clear of the massive
belch of the breaker.
' There's some fine weather here for land-
ing, I suppose .?'
* If there wasn't,' said Mr. Bruton, ' how
should I be now worth my fourteen thousand
pounds, two 'ouses, not counting this one,
144 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
and a comfortable lugger for my diversion, if
1 hadn't snicked it all off the revenue ?'
* Good, come up,' cried Captain Jackman,
with excitement. * Let your gains be mine,
and I'll bless your name.'
' Will you buy the house ?' said the man.
* Yes,' answered the captain, * and return
with you to the town, where you'll recom-
mend me to people who'll clean and furnish
it comfortably whilst I am away on business
' That shall be done, sir, and under my
superintendence,' said Bruton, as they
emerged, followed by the distant hollow
roar of the sea.
Commander Conway strode impatiently
about his little parlour. It was breakfast
time, and there was a smell of fried fish in
the house. Putting his head out he caught
sight of Mrs. Dove at the end of the passage,
and cried —
* Why does Miss Ada keep me waiting ?
Go and let her know that breakfast is
ready, and tell her to come down, dressed or
BUGSBY'S HOLE 145
He was warm with temper, and wiped
his face. His daughter had for years been a
mortification to him in a quiet way. She
would snub him in company, she would
decline to walk with him. She was for ever
expressing detestation of the place, knowing
that her father, in stern reality, could not
afford a move. In the depths of his soul,
the old gentleman felt a little sick of these
yearly experiences of his, and was perfectly
willing to marry her to any one whom he
should think fit to be her husband. Jack-
man was not that man. What was there in
that man that made the austere, keen-eyed
commander witness a character in his beauty
invisible to the girl .? Conway had mixed
with men, and knew human nature. Of one
dark side of man's character or spirit he
could claim a particular knowledge.
These thoughts ran in his head whilst he
waited. Suddenly he heard Mrs. Dove, who
was a very slow woman, come tumbling
downstairs, and in a moment she had fallen
' What now ?' said the commander, sternly
thrusting her back.
146 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' As I live to say it, sir,' cried the poor old
lady, in broken tones of purest agitation and
fright, ' Miss Ada didn't sleep under your
roof last night !'
The enraged commander studied the old
working face with a gaze horrible with
menace, then thrusting past her he went
upstairs and entered his daughter's room.
The bed had been untouched. Certainly
she had said * Good-night ' to him on the
landing. She had left when the house was
in darkness, suppose an hour after saying
* Good-night.' With whom had she eloped .?
Most undoubtedly with that scoundrel.
The commander stood in the middle of
his daughter's room, looking round him.
His strong breast hove a sob once, and he
muttered to himself, * What shall I do ?'
The runaway had ten hours' advantage of
any pursuit ; but whither, to what place
should she be pursued ? Had she left no
note, no communication ? But then,
although she had not slept in her bed, had
she eloped ? The commander went down-
stairs to eat his breakfast.
BUGSBY'S HOLE 147
Mrs. Dove stood in the room, white with
anxiety and agitation.
' Oh, commander, is she gone, do you
think ? Is she gone ofF, do you imagine,
with the sea captain ?' And she wrung her
hands, and her face worked in wrinkles.
* With whom else ?' sternly replied the
commander, seating himself before his
favourite fried sole, and beginning a break-
fast that scarcely promised its usual hearti-
* What can be done, sir, to save her .?'
* Don't you know, ma'm,' answered the
commander, * it has been said, that the virtue
that needs a sentinel is not worth guarding .?
What would you do to save her ? She's
ahead of us by ten or eleven hours. The
heart of ice had no damned right to leave me
without a single farewell or word of her
' I can't believe that, sir. I cant believe
she'd go off without leaving a note. I'll
make another search.'
She stumped upstairs. The commander
ate his fish, often looking hard out of the
window. Keen distress worked in his bosom.
10 — 2
148 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
But his face of iron masked it. She had left
no letter, he thought to himself. She would
have no talent at kindness in unkindness.
She must sheath her knife to the hilt to
make the stroke effectual to her. As he
thought thus, Mrs. Dove entered bearing a
note. Her face had lost its w^orking
wrinkles of horror ; she entered with some-
thing of gaiety.
* I've found this behind the dressing-table,
where it had been blown down by the
draught from the open window. I knew —
I knew, dear heart, she wouldn't go away
without saying good-bye.'
She handed the letter to the commander,
who quietly put down his knife and fork,
took the letter, and read —
' Commander Conway, R.N.'
He then opened the letter. It was of two
folded sheets, with very little in them, and
the missive ran thus —
' Dear Father,
* I am eloping to-night with my
darling Walter Jackman. This uncomfort-
able form of marriage need not have hap-
BUGSBY'S HOLE 149
pened had you proved reasonable, but you
were ever in extremes in your likes and dis-
likes. I am now going to be happy after
many years of dulness and contemptible
vexations, where my beauty was fast yellow-
ing, and where I had not a friend whom I
valued. I do not say where we are going,
for I do not want you to give yourself the
trouble of following me. It is impossible
for you to miss me. We saw so little of
each other. It was only the sense of my
being in the house that gave you satisfaction.
I will write to you when I am settled,
and shall hope to hear from you. And
so, with love, and a kiss of farewell, and
begging you will not take this too much to
' I am,
* Your always affectionate daughter,
' Ada Conway.'
* Always affectionate daughter !' rasped
out the commander, bringing his fist down
on a sheet of the letter. * How do you
like the notion of calling Ada Conway
Mrs. Walter Jackman ?'
I50 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
And he ground his teeth, and left the
* I am glad I found the letter,' said
Mrs. Dove. ' It shows she's not so bad.
But, oh, she's wicked — she's wicked to treat
her poor old father so.'
Conway cut the old woman short by
stepping on to his lawn. He filled a
pipe, and paced to and fro. A little cannon
stood at each corner of this lawn, and
amidships there had been reared a mighty
flagstaff, which one night came down in a
gale of wind with an incredible thunder of
noise. It did little mischief; yet had it
struck the commander's house, it is odds,
seeing that his bedroom immediately faced
it, if it had not smashed him as flat as his
He walked for some time meditating in
exasperation. He was helpless. What
could he do ? Presently there came along
the clifFs side, within easy hail of the
commander, Mr. Leaddropper and Captain
Burgoyne. Both men were wrapped in
stout pilot-cloth, and the sea never shaped,
chiselled, coloured, clothed, and sent adrift
BUGSBY'S HOLE 151
to get a living a more perfect sailor than
They saw Conway, and came rolling
* Sorry to hear the bad news, commander,'
Conway stared. * How the devil should
you know it ?' he roared. ' It's scarcely
known to myself yet !'
' We met the butcher, who had called for
orders,' said Burgoyne. * You'll never get
a servant to keep a secret. And it's nigh
halfway over the town already.'
' Commander,' exclaimed old Leaddropper
in a broken voice, ' I am truly sorry for
' A plague on all sorrow !' burst out
Conway, breathing short.
* But it's the business of all parents to get
their daughters married,' continued the pilot;
* and you weren't going to find soundings for
her in that way here. She's done for herself;
and since she's done it, why,' cried he, with
a rollicking air, * let us take the earliest
occasion to drink their healths !'
' Leaddropper,' said Burgoyne, who saw
152 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
that Conway could scarcely contain his
rage, * I don't think the commander rightly
relishes this talk just now. Can I be of
any service to you ?' he exclaimed, frankly
* Thanks. I am an old man, and this
blow has somewhat stunned me. She was
my only child, and I am a widower. I
should wish for prudent counsel. Although
they be married, I should like to know
whether she's not to be torn from the
beggar's embraces, and brought back here
and locked up clear of him.'
His companions gravely shook their
* Have you any idea where she's gone
to ?' asked the pilot.
' To sea in the beggar's brig ; that's my
' So he's got a brig,' said the pilot,
interested. * He may turn out better than
They discoursed for some time in this
style. They were all equally ignorant, and
had therefore nothing to suggest or com-
municate. This idle council concluded by
BUGSBY'S HOLE 153
the commander swearing that he would go
to London by next day's coach, visit the
owners of the Lovelacey and make all human
and possible inquiries in the docks about the
man Jackman, his brig, his antecedents ;
and, for all he knew, he might in this way
get to find out where his daughter was ; for
the scoundrel Jackman was pretty certain
to make sail for London, where his brig
was, and where also he could easily get
It was a tremendous undertaking — very
expensive, very cold at that time of the year,
tedious beyond any words in human speech,
and it was now twelve years since the
commander had visited the Metropolis on
top of a West of England mail-coach.
Behold him next day seated on the roof of
a stout, handsome, well-apparelled vehicle !
On his arrival in London he was nearly
dead, in spite of the several comfortable
breaks. He had long been used to his
own armchair and his own bed, and hated
travelling by coach. Nevertheless, here he
was at last in that marvellous Metropolis,
which staggers the nose more than any
154 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
other sense on one's first entry on top of a
vehicle from miles of turnips and acres of
It was twelve o'clock in the day. The
commander descended stiff from the coach,
entered a neighbouring eating-house, where
he called for a plate of beef and a pint of
ale, which did him good. He then, after
making full inquiry, walked to the offices of
the owners of the ship Lovelace. Only one
of her owners was at business. This was
the tall, rather gentlemanly man, Sir William
Williams, who bent his body in halves when
he talked, and preserved most of the styles
of the last age. On his learning that the
tall gentleman was an owner, the com-
mander told him who he was, and begged
for an interview. This was immediately
granted, and they repaired together to a
small back office, bulk-headed off by glass
' I have travelled many leagues, sir,'
began the commander, ' to obtain at this
office any information that may enable me
to get at one Captain Jackman, who, I
bitterly lament to say, after haunting our
BUGSBY'S HOLE 155
parts, has,' he continued, colouring with
emotion and shame, * run away with my
daughter, my only child.'
Sir William looked at him gravely and
sympathetically. ' I will not go behind
anything your feelings may dictate,' he
said. * We hold our own opinion of the
fellow at this office. I do not think it's
likely that he will find employment under
any other house-flag, let alone ours. His
name has become notorious through his loss
of the fifteen hundred sovereigns belonging
* It was no more stolen from him '
began the commander.
Sir William lifted his hand, with a grave
smile. * We know that he has been spend-
ing money in your parts,' he said ; * but,
then, he may tell you that that is the money
with which we paid him off. He has
equipped his brig. He will prove to you
that he has borrowed money upon her for
trading purposes. Unless he may be con-
victed, we would rather not touch him.
Proofs to the hilt, or silence, that is my
theory of our British law.'
156 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
* Has he been seen about the docks ?'
asked the commander.
' I don't know.'
' He is fitting out his brig, isn't he ?'
' She sailed some days ago.'
' Where bound to ?'
' Nominally to Oporto,' answered Sir
' He could not have been in charge. The
fellow has only a few hours' start of me.'
' They may have come up to London to
be married, and they may join the brig after
they're man and wife,' said Sir William,
viewing the commander's face with concern.
* Then she'll be hove to, waiting for
them !' cried Conway. * Surely she'd be
in the river ! By Heaven, I may intercept
them yet, and give him hell, if nothing
worse happens !'
Sir William, who lived very strictly after
the fashion of most shipowners, looked very
grave for a moment ; then, unbending, he
' Your ear, sir.' And after whispering he
And the commander shouted, * I had
BUGSBY'S HOLE 157
suspected it from the moment of my
setting eyes on him ! The brig must be
in the river ! They'll join her leisurely !
She'll want to see the sights ! I'll intercept
her ! But they will be married — they will
be married !'
Sir William accompanied him to the
pavement, and promised him all the infor-
mation he could obtain, both as to the man
and as to the brig.
FATHER AND DAUGHTER.
The brig Gypsy lay in the Thames off Grave-
send. She had been fast at her mooring
buoy for some days. She was now fully
equipped for the sea, and a very handsome
boat, pierced for three guns of a side, with
place for a pivoted long nine-pounder forward
In those days the peaceful trader often
sailed from the Thames with guns run out.
Especially did she need to give this hint if
her course for traffic carried her into the
ways where the galley-pirate still lingered,
where the slave-ship troubled the waters
with her hellish keel, where, in short, there
were numerous vessels afloat of very doubt-
Here, then, lay the brig Gypsy, Captain
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 159
Jackman's heirloom, and much good had his
worthy father hoped it would do him. Men
in craft, pushing slowly by in bows as round
as a potato, gazed at the brig with admira-
tion. They would like to have such a little
vessel to command. She was going to make
a pleasant voyage, bet your heart. She
certainly looked more like a pleasure craft
rigged as a sham trader, than a vessel of
commerce, and many would have expected
to see the dresses of ladies fluttering on board
of her, and a number of gentlemen, well
dressed, ready for the start, and for enjoy-
It was the fifth day of the Gypsy s deten-
tion. The river was running rapidly and
bearing all sorts of vessels seawards, whilst
those forging inwards had to strike with a
forefoot of claws to catch the way the breeze
was giving them. It was a dull afternoon.
The shipping showed shabbily. The water
flowed in lead, and the sky was a rainy
brown, sickly with the slow motion of un-
wholesome yellow cloud. A large man,
with a huge face made up as it might appear
of pieces of putty, the seams showing so as
i6o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
to render his mask of face extraordinary,
overhung the bulwark rail, with his foot on
a carronade, and his gaze bent on a boat that
was approaching the brig almost athwart
stream from the Gravesend pier. The
wrinkles grew deep in his brow as the boat
neared the vessel, until, giving a wild laugh,
he cried to himself, ' Blow'd if it ain't
Commander Conway !*
The men got their boat alongside, and
the commander handed himself up the three
or four steps which lay over the gangway.
The huge putty-faced man saluted him.
' I thought you'd know me, Hoey. Are
they aboard ?'
* You mean the master and wife, sir .?'
' No one else,' said the commander.
* They are not, then, and we've been here
fooling around this buoy five days.'
* You're mate of this ship, aren't you .?'
said the commander.
' Yes, sir,' answered the man, with some-
thing of a lumpish grin.
* How many mates have you .?'
' Myself and another.'
' I mean to remain on board until the
FATHER AND DAUGHTER i6i
arrival of my daughter, and then,' said the
commander firmly, almost to grimness, 'shall
ask you. Bill Hoey, to set me and her ashore
at our home, which is a good way down
Channel, as of course you know.'
* I've signed articles under Captain Jack-
man. I can take no liberties, I am afraid.'
* We shall see. I will bring you and
the others to a right state of mind before
I've done with you,' said the commander,
shooting sharp glances in the direction of
a number of seamen who were lounging
on the forecastle and smoking, and look-
ing at the land, and apparently filling
their end of the little ship with their
' Can you give us any idea when the
captain's coming off, sir .?' said Hoey.
* He may be here to-day, or to-morrow,
or next day. He'll not long tarry. I have
hunted the docks for good purpose, and
have gathered information which I shall
communicate to the crew in proper time.
Where are you bound to, do you think ?'
The huge Bill Hoey made no answer, and
i62 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' You are cleared for the port of Oporto,'
continued the commander.
' For the land of romance, more likely,'
answered Bill Hoey, who, laughing respect-
fully, saluted and crossed the deck, his
dutifulness — which is one of the glories
of the English seaman — being alarmed by
the commander's questions and his unre-
The commander went to the side, paid
the boatmen, received his valise, dismissed
the boat, and seeing a man approaching the
little companion, he gave him the valise and
told him to take it below.
' Into the living room, sir ?' said the man.
* Death and fire, has it come to a sailor
not knowing what below means !'
' But what's your cabin ?' said the fellow
sulkily; * that's what I meant. There are but
three ; two's occupied, and one's the pantry.'
*Take that thing below!' repeated the
commander, gesticulating with a shovel-
shaped hand, and speaking in that tone of
voice to which the blue-jacket is used when
the naval officer's digestion is a little out of
repair. The commander then made the
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 163
rounds of the brig. He gazed first with
astonishment and attention at the guns, the
tompions of which were in. He studied the
little brig aloft, and secretly admired her.
' What a villain,' he said to himself, ' to
marry my daughter, and then put his ship to
this use !'
* I beg your pardon, sir,' said Hoey the
mate, coming over to him, * but is your
honour sailing with us ?'
* I am just doing what I blessed well
please,' cried the commander, blood-red with
rage at being questioned by a man filling
Hoey's post. * You will do me the favour
to leave me alone, merely sending the
steward to me, as I am going below.'
The habit of command was to be seen
in the commander. Hoey read the taut
discipline of the quarter-deck in old Conway,
from his white hair to his buckled shoes.
He touched his cap, as though the com-
mander had been the skipper himself.
Conway went below, and in a few minutes
a young seaman, dressed in a camlet jacket,
made his appearance. Conway had been
looking round the cabin. It was a com-
II — 2
1 64 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
fortable little berth. A table equal to
dining two persons at a time was fixed
amidship, and there were three sleeping
berths, one of which was the pantry and
* I shall want to sleep here,' said the
commander. ' That's my valise. Where
can I rest my head o' night down Channel ?'
The young steward, recognising some-
thing very superior to the average officer
he was used to, in this square man of
fighting aspect, said —
* The capt'n sleeps there, and his lady
there, sir. And this 'ere's been made a
pantry of,' and he opened the little door.
There was an unnecessary variety of
crockery, all of a much too expensive sort
for a common little trading brig. The
commander stood wrapped in contemplation.
He then looked at a locker which ran along
the ship's side parallel with the table, and
formed, so to speak, a bench.
* That'll make me all the bed I want,'
said he. * Which is my daughter's berth ?'
* The starboard one, sir.'
The commander walked into it, followed
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 165
like a sentry by the steward, who could not
understand this severe square gentleman's
cool procedure on board a ship that did not
belong to him.
Conway saw a little trunk belonging to
his daughter. A handbag was hanging
under a looking-glass. Under the glass
was a small oil-painting of Captain Walter
Jackman, stiff in high coat collars, his gift to
his love. The rest consisted of the ordinary
fittings of a bunk to sleep in, of a little wash-
stand, and so forth.
The commander, taking no notice of the
steward, walked on deck. He was warmly
clad in thick pilot. He made for the
weather quarter-deck at once, and Mr. Hoey,
seeing him coming, edged forward, and
trudged in the waist with askant looks aft.
It was something after two. The stream
of tide was slacking. The houses of
Gravesend were faintly discernible through
a delicate drizzle of squall that was just
then blowing over them. The cold and
melancholy waste, where now stand the
civilising signs of great docks and tall masts,
made the scene that way soul depressing.
1 66 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
Hard by the fort lay a little cutter of sixty
or seventy tons. The pennant of the state
flickered at her mast-head, and Commander
Conway frequently directed his attention at
the little craft as he stumped his few feet of
Nobody seemed to notice that Conway
usurped the quarter-deck. In fact, it had
been breezed abroad that he was the father-
in-law of the master of the brig, and Jack
was therefore satisfied. For an hour or so
things remained as they were : Gravesend
hung in squall ; Tilbury ran off its banks in
gleams of mud ; the little cutter, with her
gaff mainsail hoisted, strained at her cable ;
and all between were great ships and little
ships coming and going. Those who came
were bound to London town, and those who
went were being steered down the noble
stream to every port in the world.
An hour after Commander Conway had
arrived on board the Gypsy, a wherry might
have been seen putting off with feathering
blade and smart whip of oar in the direction
of the brig.
* Here they come !' said the commander ;
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 167
and he knocked the ashes of his pipe over
The boat rapidly glanced athwart the tide;
the commander continued to strut to and fro.
Hoey stood at the open gangway ready to
receive the party. The boat hooked on,
and swarmed through the rush of waters
abreast to alongside. Captain and Mrs.
Jackman stepped on board. The boat put
off, and Hoey, turning to the commander,
* Are you going ashore, sir ?'
' Yes, and with my daughter,' said the
commander, advancing towards Ada, who
' Pray, sir, what business have you in this
vessel V demanded Captain Jackman with
a very dark face.
* My business is that lady whom you have
feloniously removed from my roof, and now
intend to carry into some sort of calling —
smuggling, they call it — which may wholly
* Nonsense !' exclaimed the young lady.
* What I did was done entirely of my own
free will, and I will do it again. He is my
1 68 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
husband. You cannot separate us ; you
cannot take me ashore because you wish
to see us sundered.'
She stood all her inches as she said these
words, and spoke with her full strength of
voice, and the sailors listened eagerly.
Reckoned on the whole, she was the finest
girl out of the port of London.
' Weigh anchor !' shouted Captain Jack-
man to Hoey, whose voice instantly went
forward in the proper cow-like roar.
It was an old-fashioned capstan, and it
was worked with a song, and there were
thirty throats. By degrees those looking
over the rail saw the shore slipping by and
inward-bound vessels coming along fast.
Sail floated to the masthead, and blew
balloon-like at the topgallant mast. Captain
Jackman, after speaking a word with his
wife, crossed the deck, where Conway
stepped, the picture of violated law, indignant
father, and horror of the whole proceedings.
'Is it your intention, sir, to make this
cruise with us ? If so, you are very
welcome ; another nautical sabreur will
please me vastly.'
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 169
' You are carrying me away at your own
risk. You have stolen my daughter. I
mean that you shall set me ashore, and I
intend that my daughter shall accompany
* To what home ?' cried Jackman.
' To the home you stole her from !'
* She has a home of her own !' exclaimed
Captain Jackman, drawing himself up with
the gravity and dignity of an earl who talks
of a belt and acres. ' As you are accom-
panying us, you shall visit us in that home,
and judge if your daughter is not perfectly
With that he turned scornfully on his heel,
and crossed the deck to speak to Mrs. Jack-
Meanwhile, those who noticed anything
had observed that the cutter lying in shore
had loosed her mainsail and was getting her
anchor. The evening gathered. The cutter
was manifestly giving chase. The brig
floated in lofty and silent contempt through
the wide reaches. At seven o'clock the
captain, followed by Ada, came out of the
I70 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
cabin, and found the commander pacing the
deck smoking a pipe. Captain Jackman,
sHghtly raising his hat, went up to him, and
' Since, sir, you are deUberately a guest of
the brig's, you will allow me to force her
hospitality upon you.'
* Oh, presently ! A biscuit, that will do,
thank you,' answered the commander, in his
gruffest notes. ' I am an old sailor.'
The captain, making no answer, crossed
into the gloom, where, he perceived, stood
the burly shape of Bill Hoey.
' Summon all hands aft ; I have some-
thing to say to them,' said he, and then
rejoined his wife, who had remained silently
watching her father pacing the deck, and
trying in vain to imagine what he intended
There came aft, on the quarter-deck, a large
number of men for so small a craft, despite
that vessels went very liberally handled in
those days. They filled the waist and ail
about the mainmast ; and the commander,
poising his pipe at his mouth, stood watching
them in something of a posture of astonish-
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 171
ment. The dusk rendered faces and figures
imperfect. It might be seen, however, that,
in addition to her batteries of guns, and stern
and bow chasers, she carried a crew as power-
ful almost as a man-of-war of small rating
would have entered.
Captain Jackman, leaving his wife's side,
stepped in front of the men, and said, in a
high note of exultation —
* Men, I have called you aft not to make
you a speech, but to give you two or three
facts, all of which I know will warm you to
the very roots of your souls. I told you, for
purposes of signing, that I had pretended we
were bound to the Portugal coast, but that,
in reality, we were bound away in search of
a treasure, the particulars of which I gave
you. That was a lie. We are no treasure-
seekers, unless it lie in the holds of others.
Men,' he cried, now beginning to gesticulate,
and to warm up with his fancies, * this beauti-
ful little brig has been fitted up as a pirate '
— the commander's pipe dropped with his
hand — ' and a smuggler,' continued Jackman.
* I have a date for a ship sailing from Lisbon.
She will make your fortune ; and I swear
172 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
you will go in no risk. That is what I have
to say to you, men. Turn it over, and con-
sider how magnificently it must work, seeing
that in the south of Cornwall I already
possess a splendid estate of smuggling steps
and caves, and a little house in which my
wife will live till we have completed our
business, in which time Commander Conway
may be glad to prove one of the party. He
will be welcome.'
A curious murmur rose from amongst the
crew. No man could clearly catch the exact
word or groan.
The cutter astern was leaning over to
the damp evening blast, which was now
beginning to breeze up ; and her wake
went astern of her as though it was the
shimmer of her canvas.
' Bear a hand in making sail, Mr. Hoey,'
shouted Jackman ; and the great fellow
answered with a roar, and the sailors sprang
Swift as was the brig, however, the cutter
proved a swifter keel, and by half-past ten
o'clock that night she had ranged within
easy hail of the Gypsy.
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 173
' Brig ahoy !' came a loud voice through
the moist dissembling gloom. ' What ship
are you, and where are you bound to ?'
' We are the brig Gypsy ^ of and from
London, and bound to the coast of Portugal,'
answered Captain Jackman, who had sprung
on the rail of his vessel when the other had
The commander rushed to the ship's side.
' Nothing of the sort, sir. He's no honest
ship ; he's going for a pirate and a smuggler.
I am Commander '
He had shouted this in a voice like a
speaking trumpet, when Captain Jackman
rounded upon him, fiercely levelling a pistol
at his head as he did so.
' Down, you old dog !' he cried, stepping
close to Conway. * Speak another word,
and even your daughter's presence sha'n't
save your life ! Go below, sir, so as to be
out of danger ! Below, sir ! — below, sir, I
say !' This he said, thrusting him towards
the companion way.
' ril square the yards yet with you, you
scoundrel !' exclaimed the commander; and
with a lingering look at the cutter, that was
174 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
whitening the gloom with foam and canvas
to windward, he vanished.
Shortly after he had descended into the
cabin, his daughter arrived. A bright lamp
was swinging ; the remains of supper were
upon the table. The girl looked fiercely
under her black crooked brows at her father,
and said, in a voice of hot contempt —
' What right have you on board this
* The right of a father,' shouted the com-
mander, * to fetch his daughter away from a
pirate and a smuggler.'
* You cannot separate us,' she cried.
* You shall go ashore with me, or I shall
stick to this ship,' he answered.
She arched her mouth into a sneer, and
said, ' I would advise you to leave us to our
fate. You are never likely to hear of us ; and
your reputation, of which you think highly,
will be safe. If you interfere But, as
it is, you have already given the news to the
revenue cutter on our quarter, even whilst
our own sailors may be considering whether
they shall sail in the ship or not.'
As she spoke these words, there was a
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 175
sharp hail abeam, quite audible in the cabin.
It was not answered from the brig, which
was now sheeting through the sea under tall
leaning heights, beating the water into sifted
snow with the drive of her round bows.
The hail was repeated. A minute later the
Gypsy was fired at; the glare of the gun
illuminated the little cabin port-hole. The
shot made the old hull thrill, and she broke
off somewhat wildly to a sudden frightened
whirl of smoke. The commander, fully ex-
pecting that Captain Jackman would heave-
to, rushed on deck just in time to behold
some men abaft the wheel of the Gypsy
bringing a nine-pounder to bear upon the
little foaming hull. As he rushed to the
side, the gun was fired. A sharp sound of
crackling followed, and, more to the con-
sternation than the gratification, perhaps, of
the brig's company, they beheld the fabric
of mainmast cut sheer in halves by the shot,
and the whole litter and smother of gear and
canvas encumbering the deck. She came to
a stand. The Gypsy sped on.
* Do you know what you have done, sir ?'
cried the commander.
176 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' I have served him as I intend to serve
others,' was the answer. ' You stand in my
way. I am an honest man ; this is a clean
ship. What law can justify that scoundrel
in firing at me ?'
* Your refusal to answer the hail of a king's
ship. What are you bringing yourself into ?'
And with something frantic in his manner,
the old fellow went in long strides to the
stern of the vessel.
He stood watching the cutter sending up
signals. They might have been colours of
danger, hurried flashes of distress. No notice
was taken on board the brig — in fact, the
crew seemed all too much afraid of what
had happened to be willing to stop the Gypsy,
even had the order to back her topsail been
given. A king's cutter hulled, dismasted,
placed hors de combat by an English brig
which had impudently refused to heave-to
to legitimate demands ! Who was this
Captain Jackman, anyhow \ It had got
mysteriously whispered about, through God
knows what source, that he was a little mad.
It may have come from his last ship. It
may have been detected in the docks, and
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 177
coolly noted and made nothing of by the
reckless seamen who had agreed to sail with
him for fine pay and a good share of the
The wide stretch of river looked melan-
choly with the black of the night and the
dimness of the stars, and the dull gleam of
the heads of the running sea. The com-
mander, with folded arms, stood gazing in
the direction where the cutter was sunk in
the gloom. His mind was distracted. He
had counted upon the civility and respect of
Captain Jackman ; on the contrary, his life
had been threatened, and he was now being
carried away to sea in spite of his protests.
He could endure his reverie no longer, and
after looking about him in search of Captain
Jackman, and beholding no one aft but the
huge figure of Bill Hoey, who was keeping
the watch, he went into the cabin.
There he found the captain and Ada, late
as it was, in earnest conversation. They
broke ofi^ when he entered, and the captain
stood up ; but the girl stared at her father
with angry looks of impatience.
* We are pleased that you have come
178 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
below, sir,' said the captain respectfully,
indicating a chair, and brandy and other
materials, in as many flourishes of his hand.
' We should like a good understanding to
exist between us.'
' I am very wishful that that should be,'
said the commander, who understood that
this lover of good understandings carried
loaded pistols in his pockets, and that he had
one in his breast then.
' You are on board my brig,' said Captain
Jackman, * without invitation. Do not you
think you are guilty of a gross act of rude-
The commander pointed, mute with
passion, to his daughter.
' You cannot divorce us by being here,'
continued Captain Jackman, with a slow
white smile and a sarcastic face, and eyes full
of dangerous light. ' She is my wife, sir,
above and beyond your control absolutely.'
' You will set me ashore with her, never-
theless,' exclaimed Commander Conway.
' Yes, you shall be set ashore certainly,
and my wife and I will accompany you.
Does that satisfy you, sir?'
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 179
* Where is the place ?' said the com-
mander, with an angry snuffle of suspicion.
* In Cornwall.'
' It is your home, perhaps.'
* You shall see it,' exclaimed Ada. * And
when you have enjoyed its beauties you will
return to the little square house.'
The commander looked from one to the
other. He was very much of an old fool,
but not so foolish as to miss this, that this
couple were not to be dealt with by him,
that he had started on a fool's chase, in which
if he was not very careful with the fellow
opposite, he might lose his life. He looked
up at the hour that ticked in a clock under
the little hatch. It was twelve. He said —
* I will take my rest here, on this locker.'
The captain bowed to him. * You have
had no refreshment. May I,' said he, ' offer
you something to eat?'
' I will thank you for a biscuit and a
drop of that brandy.' He spoke with reluc-
tance, the ill-breeding of which caused his
daughter to fix one of her handsomest
though gloomiest stares upon him.
When the sun rose the brig was standing
12 — 2
[8o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
down Channel. Sail was heaped on her.
She often foamed to her catheads. She was
making a triumphant course, swift and fine.
The sea about her lay in frosted silver, and
the ships around her leaned in shafts of light.
The commander early made his appearance.
Observing his daughter Ada to be standing
alone at the taffrail, he accosted her.
' Do not you think yourself a very un-
natural child ?'
* I am free. Leave me, father, or forbear
at all events from criticising my behaviour,'
answered the girl, flashing her hottest looks
* You know that Captain Jackman de-
liberately stole fifteen hundred pounds of
the moneys of his owners for the purpose
of fitting out his brig for a piratical enter-
* You must prove all that,' she cried.
' He has fired upon a revenue cutter, and
stands to be transported for life.'
* And what then ?' she cried, with a bold
laugh of contempt. * Wherever he goes he'll
find me near.'
* But you seem to forget that Captain
FATHER AND DAUGHTER i8i
Jackman, by confessing that he is going as a
pirate, stands to be hanged, and you may see
his corpse on the black mud of the Thames,
revolving at the finger of a gibbet in irons, a
brutally degraded w^retch. My God, what
have you done ?' A great sob rent the old
* Father,' answered the girl, ' I am sorry
to have caused you grief, but my die is cast,
and I beg of you to say no more against my
action, or against my husband.'
She left him and went to the rail, and
watched, with a hot angry face, the white
foam streaming by. She was absolutely
reckless and defiant. She had got her man,
and meant to stick to him at all hazards.
The commander walked over to her suddenly,
and putting his arm on her shoulder, ex-
' Do you know that Captain Jackman is
* You will have to prove all your state-
ments,' she cried, without turning her head.
* He is a madman,' cried old Conway. ' I
saw it in him when we met. His owner
told me that he was a madman. Certain
1 82 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
statements had been made about him by
the crew of his last ship, and in any case
he would not have sailed under their flag
' Mad or not mad, I love him,' said the
girl, again crossing the deck to avoid her
Meanwhile the crew remained quiet and
obedient. They could not possibly mistake
the ship's errand and the hazard they ran.
Yet they acted as though they had made up
their minds to the consequences. Their
behaviour of obedience greatly puzzled old
Conway, who tried to get at one and another
of them : but somehow they did not choose
to speak. Bill Hoey, in particular, was
peculiarly reticent, considering that he was
plied by a man who had been a Naval Com-
mander, and who carried the authority of the
flag. He would tell nothing, he knew
nothing, he supposed they were going
a-pirating, since the captain said so ; but
who was to tell but that the captain, whose
royal yard did not seemed very well trimmed
by the lifts, might change his mind, go
a-slaving instead, go a-hunting for whales —
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 183
in short, the gentleman well knew there
was a great deal of business to be done on
As the brig passed down the coast the
commander would from time to time take
an eagle view of the starboard horizon,
hoping that the cutter had been fallen in
with, her case reported, a messenger de-
spatched by land to a port where they had
a frigate which would intercept the Gypsy.
But nothing in the shape of a man-of-war
showed the whole way down. They were
favoured by fine weather, and in places the
sea was white with shafts of canvas. The
brig took care to speak nothing. She sailed
through the deep without sign, and her
secret, whose confession would have brought
some of the ships she sighted in fiery pursuit
of her, remained her own.
How did the commander fare ? His
daughter was not a lovable creature, though
a very fine woman. She was not one to
sit at table whilst her father walked the
deck hungry, nor was the commander one
to walk hungry. He said to Captain Jack-
1 84 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
' I had counted upon you putting me
ashore with my daughter at my home down
the coast, otherwise I should not have
intruded upon you ; but since I am here,
I must be fed or die. Therefore I will
thank you to allow me to join you at your
* There has been no intrusion, sir,' said the
captain, in his elegant style. * We are glad
to have you with us. We hope you will
think better of your resolution, and remain
as one who can command us in an expedi-
tion which must result in filling our vaults
with wealth without risk.' The commander
made an extraordinary face. ' At all events
I have to go ashore,' exclaimed the captain,
* at Bugsby's Hole with my wife, and we
will take you with us, and perhaps, sir, a
little chat in our quiet home may result in
my scheme gaining your favour.'
The subject then ended, and the com-
mander henceforth fed at the table with his
daughter and son-in-law. It was an igno-
minious position, and the food nearly choked
the retired officer. But though he had been
a gallant sailor, he had the usual weaknesses
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 185
of the human animal, and amongst these
were hunger and thirst.
A day and a night of the bitter weather of
the Chops drove the brig to the south'ard
under reefed canvas, and some of the sailors
wondered if she was going to the Portugal
coast, where Jackman had promised them a
galleon full of precious commodity. She
cleverly regained her place in a couple of
days, and on a bright, quiet Sunday morning
lay within sight of the part of the Cornwall
cliffs which may be here called Bugsby's
Hole. The air shone with the white light
of winter ; the beat of the surf was sullen.
This line of coast is low and livid, and its
sky-line ran sharp, with not a house or tree
to break its dreary continuity. All had been
prearranged, and when the brig's maintop-
sail had been brought to the mast on the
ship's arrival at about three-quarters of a mile
distant from the land, a large boat was
lowered, and a quantity of luggage was put
into it. Then Ada entered, next followed
the commander, finally the captain, after an
earnest conference with Bill Hoey, his chief
mate, the man who was to be left in charge.
1 86 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
The boat passed quickly over the long heave
of sea which here runs with the weight of
the Atlantic, and, watching their opportunity,
the men contrived to handsomely beach her
within a short walk of Bugsby's Hole. The
seamen carried the baggage into the vault,
and were followed by the captain, his wife,
and the commander. The vault was a fine
cutting of a gradual slope, charged on either
hand with marvellously contrived hiding-
places. They gained the entrance by land,
and Captain Jackman was loud in his praise
of the beautiful tunnel he had passed through,
and which was his property.
' Carry the luggage to that little house
yonder,' said Ada. ' That is my home,
father. We will convert it into a castle.'
The house that was to be transformed
ultimately into a castle, without regard to
the laws of the land, and the opinions of
respectable seamen sailing the high seas, was
an edifice worthy to berth a ploughman and
his family, and to make them a good home.
A middle-aged servant had been living in the
house for some days, and all was in prepara-
tion. Fires burnt in the grates, a leg of
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 187
mutton smoked in the kitchen, and a canary
in the living-room, which was immediately
entered by the house door, sang a loud song
' This, sir, will be our residence,' said
Captain Jackman to the commander, who
was staring agape and aghast around him,
* until we have stored some of the most secret
of the hiding-places we have just passed with
easily negotiable articles. I have taken you
into my confidence, for you will not betray
me. I do not fear death.' He smiled
strangely as he looked at the commander.
* I must be a rich man, and Ada, my wife,
and my love,' he exclaimed, turning a look
of touching tenderness upon the girl, * will
share in my fortune, and possess it when I
die. You can, if you choose, go away, and
start the hounds of your own service after
us. You will not do this. You will not,
with your own hand, bring your son-in-law
to the gallows.' The commander stared at
him passionately, but in silence. He had
long ago exhausted the language of horror.
He had no further protests to offer against
his son-in-law's daring scheme.
1 88 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
So nothing more was said in this way ;
and in the afternoon, at about two o'clock,
when the leg of mutton had been eaten,
Captain Jackman took a touching farewell
of his wife. Again and again he pressed
her to his heart. He gravely saluted the
commander, not seeming then to have
words for him. Where was he going ? This
madman — though, to be sure, it was still
the age of the pirate, the smuggler, and the
slaver — was bound away down the Portugal
coast to intercept and plunder a large, rich
ship which was sailing to the Indies on a
date of which he had received private notice.
The boat that had brought the party ashore
lay in wait. He entered it, and was rowed
aboard the brig, which lay at about a mile
distant. Ada and the commander stood
watching the vessel. The girl was too
proud to weep before her father, and gazed
haughtily at the picture on the sea. But
what was happening there ?
' Have you a glass V almost shrieked the
commander. ' By Heaven, Ada, I believe
the men have seized the ship !'
Whilst he said it, the vessel was a scene
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 189
of commotion and disorder. A boat had
been lowered, and five men had pulled
hastily under the stern. The topsail had
been swung, then hauled afresh, and the
foretopsail backed, and within an hour of
Captain Jackman having gone on board his
ship to seize the Portuguese galleon, a boat
of the brig, with Bill Hoey steering her,
was swept to Bugsby's Hole.
Commander Conway and his daughter
ran down the tunnel to hear what had
happened. The huge form of Hoey stood
in the orifice, and beyond lay the boat in
the clear gleams and lights of the high
Atlantic afternoon, with men tending her,
and some gathering near to Hoey to listen
to what was to follow.
* I think you are a retired commander in
the Navy,' said Hoey, respectfully saluting
* That's so. What's gone wrong with
you ?' answered the commander, speaking
with great agitation.
' We want you to take charge of the brig
to a naval port, and tell our story for us,'
said Hoey. ' We was tricked into this job.
190 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
We never signed for piracy, and the likes
of that. We was to seek for a treasure that
lay hid in an island. We laid hold of him
when he came aboard, and told him plainly
that we had mutinied, and meant to carry
the ship and himself to where we could
report the case to an admiral. He knew
we were no pirates. He turned black with
passion. " Who's going to be answerable,"
says I, " for wrecking that there revenue
cutter .?" He slapped his hand to his
pocket, and I sprang upon him, and some
of us ran him below, and locked him up in
his own cabin. It has a big stern-window,
which we had overlooked, and, being
naturally mad, as all hands for some time
had been aware, he goes and proves it by
dropping overboard, and drowning himself,
and I came off at once, sir, to give you the
news, and ask for instructions.'
A long, wild shriek, incommunicable in
words, rang through the tunnel, but Ada
stood upright nevertheless.
' Are you sure he is drowned ?' asked the
' Oh yes, sir,' answered Hoey. * A good
FATHER AND DAUGHTER 191
search was made, and nothing of him was
' Oh, Waher !' moaned the girl ; then,
screaming at Hoey, ' Ruffians ! cowards !
murderers !' she swung on her heels, and
rushed wildly up the tunnel.
' Ada,' shouted the commander after her,
* you will come along with us ?'
' I will drown myself too, if you carry me
on board,' she howled, just glancing round
to say so ; and she then went up the tunnel,
and out of sight of them.
The commander knew his daughter ; he
was perfectly well aware that no entreaty
was to move her. He lingered, considered,
thought to himself, * She has her home ;
when all this passion and grief have passed
I will come down and take her away.' He
entered the boat, but, in justice it must be
said, with a most reluctant heart, and eyes
which clung to the land.
And was our friend successful in courting
his daughter out of the tremendous solitude
of Bugsby's Hole .? He knew that he stood
no chance when the messenger, whom he
had despatched to inquire after her, himself
192 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS
not choosing to be visible, returned with
the information that it was beUeved by the
simple adjacent villagers that she had lost
her true bearings, and was, in fact, out of
her course. This could be asserted, that
every night, blow high or blow low, the
poor, unhappy woman, whom her father
never could persuade to abandon her
wretched home, placed a lamp in a seaward-
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VillageTales & JungleTragedies.
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Hearts of Gold.
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Who Poisoned Hetty Duncan ?
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Chronicles of Michael Danevitch.
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A Point of Honour.
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Prefaced by Sir H. BARTLE FRERE.
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A Strange Manuscript.
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What will the World Say ?
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DY CECIL GRIFFITH.
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The Days of his Vanity.
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Under the Greenwood Tree.
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An Heiress of Red Do^.
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A Phyllis of the Sierras.
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A Ward of the Golden Gate,
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Love— or a Name.
D. Poindexter's Disappearance.
The Spectre of the Camera.
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Ivan de Biron.
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Rujub, the Juggler.
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The House of Raby.
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A Maiden all Forlorn.
A Mental Struggle.
A Modern Circe.
Lady Verner's Flight.
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The Three Graces.
An Unsatisfactory Lover.
The Professor's Experiment.
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The Leaden Casket.
That Other Person.
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My Dead Self.
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The Dark Colleen.
The Queen of Connaught.
BY MARK KERSHAW.
Colonial Facts and Fictions.
BY R. ASHE KING.
A Drawn Game.
' The Wearing of the Green.'
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' My Love 1'
Sowing the Wind.
The One too iWany.
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Dear Lady Disdain.
The Waterdale Neighbours.
My Enemy's Daughter.
A Fair Saxon.
The Comet of a Season.
Maid of Athens.
Camiola : a Girl with a Fortune.
The Riddle Ring.
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Mr. Stranger's Sealed Packet
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Heather and Snow.
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The Evil Eye.
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The New Republic.
A Romance of the 19th Century.
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A Secret of the Sea.
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A Soldier of Fortune.
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The Man who was Good.
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Touch and Go.
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From the Bosom of the Deep.
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Coals of Fire.
By the Gate of the Sea.
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A Bit of Human Nature.
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Old Blazer's Hero.
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A Wasted Crime.
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A Capful o' Nails.
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One Traveller Returns.
Paul Jones's Alias.
The Bishops' Bible.
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A Game of Bluff.
A Song of Sixpence.
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' Bail Up r
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Held in Bondage.
Under Two Flags.
Cecil Castleraaine's Gage.
A Dog of Flanders,
In a Winter City.
Two Little Wooden Shoes.
A Village Commune.
Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos.
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Gentle and Simple.
BY JAMES PAYN.
Lost Sir Massingberd.
A Perfect Treasure.
A County Family,
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At Her Mercy.
A Woman's Vengeance.
The Clyffards of Clyffe.
The Family Scapegrace.
The Foster Brothers.
The Best of Husbands.
What He Cost Her.
Like Father, Like Son.
A Marine Residence.
Married Beneath Him.
Not Wooed, but Won.
Two Hundred Pounds Reward.
Less Black than We're Painted.
Under One Roof.
A Confidential Agent.
Some Private Views.
A Grape from a Thorn.
Kit : A Memory.
For Cash Only.
The Canon's Ward.
The Talk of the Town.
The Mystery of Mirbridge.
The Burnt Million.
The Word and the Will.
A Prince of the Blood.
A Trying Patient.
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The Mystery of Marie Roget.
BY MRS. CAMPBELL PRAED.
The Romance of a Station.
The Soul of Countess Adrian.
Outlaw and Lawmaker.
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Mrs. Lancaster's Rival.
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Miss Maxwell's Affections.
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It is Never Too Late to Mend.
Put Yourself in His Place.
The Double Marriage.
Love Me Little, Love Me Long.
The Cloister and the Hearth.
The Course of True Love.
The Autobiography of a Thief.
A Terrible Temptation.
The Wandering Heir.
Singleheart and Doubleface.
Good Stories of Man and other
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A Perilous Secret.
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Her Mother's Darling.
The Uninhabited House.
Prince of Wales's Garden Party.
The Mystery in Palace Gardens.
The Nun's Curse.
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Women are Strange.
The Hands of Justice.
The Woman in the Dark.
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Skippers and Shellbacks.
Grace Balmaign's Sweetheart.
Schools and Scholars.
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A Country Sweetheart.
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In the Middle Watch.
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A Book for the Hammock.
Mystery of the ' Ocean Star.'
The Romance of Jenny Harlowe.
An Ocean Tragedy.
My Shipmate Louise.
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea.
The Phantom Death.
The Good Ship 'Mohock.'
Is He the Man?
Heart of Oak.
The Convict Ship.
The Tale of the Ten.
The Last Entry.
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The Master of St. Benedict's.
To His Own Master.
In the Face of the World.
The Tremlett Diamonds.
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Gaslight and Daylight.
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The Ring o' Bells.
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Zeph : a Circus Story.
My Two Wives.
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The Ten Commandments.
Rogues and Vagabonds.
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A Match in the Dark.
BY HAWLEY SMART.
Without Love or Licence.
Beatrice and Benedick.
The Master of Rathkelly.
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A Husband from the Sea.
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The Afghan Knife.
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New Arabian Nights.
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Kept in the Dark.
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Like Ships upon the Sea.
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Diamond Cut Diamond.
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Pleasure Trip on the Continent.
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The Gilded Age.
Life on the Mississippi.
The Prince and the Pauper.
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Yankee at Court of K. Arthur.
The j^i,ooo,ooo Bank-note.
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The Huguenot Family.
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Beauty and the Beast
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The Blackhall Ghosts.
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The Queen against Owen.
The Prince of Balkistan.
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The Marquis of Carabas.
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BY MRS. F. H. WILLIAMSON.
A Child Widow.
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Passenger from Scotland Yard.
Englishman of the Rue Cain.
BY CELIA PARKER WOOLLEY.
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Land at Last
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